Seven people in Suffolk County were sickened in recent weeks after eating undercooked ground beef contaminated with E. coli bacteria, county health officials said Monday.

In one case, an 8-year-old North Carolina girl was hospitalized for about two weeks when her kidneys shut down, said Dr. Patricia Dillon, director of communicable diseases for Suffolk’s health department. The girl, who was visiting friends and family here, was recently released from the hospital, Dillon said.  Officials said the meat was of different brands and was purchased at several supermarkets and grocery stores.  Test results showed that the bacteria strain in three of Suffolk’s cases matched cases reported in Minnesota, California and Michigan.  "Preliminary findings suggest the E. coli O157:H7 contamination is not specific to Suffolk, but it is part of a larger national food supply concern," health officials said in a news release.

Interestingly, Abbott’s Meat Inc., a Flint, Michigan, establishment, recalled approximately 26,669 pounds of ground beef products because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 in the last few days according to FSIS.  I posted yesterday on the increasing number of E. coli cases tied to red meat that we have been seeing over the last few months.