The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is leading a team of local, federal, and state public health experts in investigating the cause of the E. coli outbreak that has hit the St. Louis region.

The investigation involves laboratory analysis, environmental sampling and case interviews. This information is then combined to determine the possible cause(s) of the outbreak.

Numbers Update – October 7 to November 11

Number of individuals confirmed to have E. coli connected to the St. Louis investigation: 32

Number of food samples, connected to the St. Louis outbreak, tested to date: 55

Number of food samples confirmed to have E. coli: 0

DHSS added one new case today based on a specimen collected on November 3, 2011. Another specimen collected November 2, 2011 tested positive for the strain of E. coli observed in the outbreak, including the specific “fingerprint” analysis.

However, that individual is considered a “secondary case” – one caused by exposure to an individual with the illness, not by exposure to the source of the illness. Secondary cases are common in outbreaks, and of course require the same medical attention as primary cases. But secondary cases by their nature do not give investigators additional information about the source of the outbreak.