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Minnesota health officials investigating E. coli infections, some related to restaurant visits

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Minnesota health officials investigating E. coli infections, some related to restaurant visits
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

More than a dozen cases of foodborne illness are being investigated by the Minnesota Department of Health — some from people who reported eating at Minnesota Applebee’s restaurants during a four-day period in June.

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The state health department is investigating 13 cases of a type of E. coli bacteria. The ill people don’t share obvious common threads, the department says, which indicates the illness resulted from a widely distributed food item.

Seven of the people reported eating at Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota from June 24-27. The restaurant volunteered to remove its Oriental chicken salad from Minnesota menus during the investigation, along with ingredients used in the salad, including cabbage and shredded carrots, which it uses in other menu items.

A news release sent by the Applebee’s company indicates the seven people who reported illness following visits to restaurants ate at five Minneapolis-area Applebee’s restaurants. Because six of the cases have no connection to the restaurant, that’s an indication the illnesses are probably a result of a vendor produce issue, the company said.

Symptoms caused by this strain of E. coli include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools. This strain hasn’t been seen in the country previously, the health department said. Anyone who has visited a Minnesota Applebee’s since June 20 and has symptoms should contact a health care provider.

Four of the 13 people were hospitalized and all are in stages of recovery.

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