Missouri testing specimens in E coli outbreak

AP News
Posted: Oct 29, 2011 7:38 PM
Missouri testing specimens in E coli outbreak

Missouri health officials say they're testing specimens and trying to determine the cause of an E. coli outbreak that sickened nearly two dozen people in St. Louis and four surrounding counties.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement Saturday that it's testing 34 specimens reported to contain E. coli. Spokeswoman Jacqueline Lapine says complete tests will take several days, but so far 18 of 34 specimens have tested positive for a byproduct of E. coli.

Testing also continues to determine the cause of the reported illnesses.

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E. coli are a group of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia. The illness can be spread through consumption of contaminated food.

At least six people required hospital stays in the recent outbreak.