Contact: Geni Alexander, PIO
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Updates
Status of Investigation into E. coli Cases in Boone County
The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services continues to lead the local investigation into an increased number of E. coli cases in Boone County.
To date, the State Public Health Laboratory has confirmed four (4) cases of E. coli O157:H7 in samples sent from Boone County residents. A fifth (5th) sample has been confirmed negative for E. coli, leaving the total number of cases in Boone County at four (4).
Staff continue to conduct patient interviews and communicate with local hospitals and physicians to assist in the identification, diagnosis and treatment of patients suspected to have E. coli illness. At this point, investigators have not identified a commonality among all four cases. To date, local investigators have not sent local food samples to the SPHL for testing.
Public health officials continue to urge anyone experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea, to seek medical attention.
REGARDING THE BOONE COUNTY CLUSTER AND THE ST. LOUIS AREA OUTBREAK
Laboratory testing is required to confirm the existence of E. coli, and to identify the specific strain and "genetic fingerprint" involved, so as to establish whether the suspected cases are part of the same outbreak. This testing, which includes the culturing of bacteria, requires several days. As previously stated, four (4) of five (5) human stool samples have tested positive for a strain of E. coli known as E. coli O157:H7. All four (4) cases have completed the process down to "fingerprint" identification; two (2) of those match the fingerprint of the St. Louis outbreak. Because of updates to the CDC's case definition associated with the St. Louis outbreak, both cases are "confirmed" as part of that outbreak. Both are still considered part of the Boone County cluster.
Officials cannot, at this point, say conclusively that there is "a connection" or "no connection" between the St. Louis area outbreak and the Boone County cluster. While it cannot be linked to a common source at this time, investigators continue to explore all possibilities.