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Can you help me with research on the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak?

Keyword(s) :    food symptoms animals deaths california


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It can be a little difficult to find accurate research on a specific incident like the 1993 Jack In the Box E. coli outbreak.  Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli is a type of bacterium that is often located in the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals.  E. coli lives in healthy people and animals, but some strains of E. coli can be very dangerous, causing significant gastrointestinal symptoms in impacted people.  If you are infected with a dangerous strain, the symptoms can include severe cramping, bloody diarrhea, and even vomiting.  People are often exposed to this dangerous strain of E. coli through contaminated water or food, including undercooked ground beef. 

Ground beef was the source of the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak.  The contaminated beef went to 73 states on or near the West Coast, including restaurants in Nevada, California, Idaho, and Washington.  It resulted in 732 people becoming infected and even led to the deaths of four children and the permanent injury of 178 people.  While five possible slaughterhouses were discovered as the potential source of the outbreak, they were never able to identify which slaughterhouse was the source.

If you are looking for a general overview of the Jack In the Box incident, you can look at the Wikipedia article on the event.  It gives a very good overview and contains some links to helpful information, including news reports from that time when infectious disease specialists were beginning to trace the origins of the E. coli infections.  Food Safety News also provides a good background article about it, including specific information about some of the victims of the poisoning.  Of course, you probably want to check out Michael Moss’s Pulitzer Prize winning articles covering the case of victim Stephanie Smith. 

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