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State Health Officials Investigating E. Coli Outbreak

Updated: 07/14/2014 6:42 PM
Created: 07/14/2014 2:37 PM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart

State health officials are investigating 13 cases of E. coli, with some of the outbreak traced to eating at Applebee's restaurants.

All of the illnesses were caused by the same genetic strain of E. coli O111. Four of the 13 people who became ill were hospitalized, and all have recovered or are recovering.

Health officials say this particular strain has not been seen in the United States before.

Those who became sick didn't have any obvious commonalities. This means the illness probably spread from a widely-distributed food item, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Officials say seven of the infected people reported eating at five Minnesota Applebee's restaurants between June 24 and June 27.

However, six of the cases had no apparent connection to Applebee's, suggesting it could be part of a vendor produce issue.

To be cautious, Applebee's restaurants across the state are removing the Oriental Chicken Salad from the menu. They are also removing green cabbage and shredded carrots from food dishes.

Symptoms caused by E. coli O111 include stomach cramps and diarrhea, but only a small fever or none at all. People usually become sick within two to five days after exposure, but it could take as long as eight days. Most people recover in five to 10 days.

Anyone who has visited a Minnesota Applebee's since June 20 and has symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately and inform them of their possible involvement in the outbreak.

MDH also asks they contact the department's hotline at 1-877-FOOD-ILL to report a potential connection.

Kansas City-based Applebee's has 58 restaurants in Minnesota.

Photo: KSTP/File

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