Fundraiser participants' E. coli count reaches 21 illnesses

By Staff Reports

Article Launched: 09/23/2008 12:00:00 AM PDT


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FOREST RANCH The Butte County Public Health Department announced Monday it has identified three more cases of E. coli illness, bringing the total to 21 in a recent outbreak.

Four people were hospitalized because of the sickness, including a young child.

The illnesses have been linked to a fundraiser held in Forest Ranch on Sept. 6 to benefit the volunteer fire department there. Several hundred people attended the event.

Health officials say they believe tri-tip served at the event was contaminated with E. coli bacteria. They are now trying to determine how the meat became tainted, they said.

Besides examining the meat, officials will test foods that were served with it, in case those foods may have contaminated the meat, said Dr. Mark Lundberg, Butte County's health officer.

Most cases of the illness were mild, but some people became very sick with severe diarrhea. The illnesses were caused by a dangerous strain of bacteria known as E. coli 0157. It can cause kidney failure and in some cases, death.



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