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J Infect Dis. 1996 Feb;173(2):480-3.

Meat grinders and molecular epidemiology: two supermarket outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection.

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Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


Between 23 June and 15 July 1994, 21 cases (19 primary and 2 secondary) of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection were identified in the Bethel, Connecticut, area. Three pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns from 15 isolates (I, n = 13; II, n = 2; and III, n = 1) were observed. A case-control study that excluded secondary cases and patients with PFGE II and III patterns (n = 16) demonstrated that consumption of food from one supermarket was associated with illness (15/16 cases vs. 31/47 geographically matched controls, odds ratio [OR] undefined, lower 95% confidence interval OR = 1.45, P = .018). No one food was associated with illness. Inspection of the supermarket revealed deficiencies in hygiene and meat handling practices. The 2 cases with PFGE II ate raw beef and raw lamb from a second supermarket. These outbreaks demonstrate the value of PFGE in supporting epidemiologic investigations and the potential for outbreaks arising from retail outlets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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