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Report: Salad Bar Spawned E. Coli

March 10, 1999

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ An E. coli bacteria outbreak that sickened 10 people has been traced to a restaurant salad bar, health officials said.

At least eight additional cases may be linked to the Golden Corral restaurant in Kearney, 185 miles west of Omaha. Five people, including a 79-year-old woman and a 6-year-old boy, were hospitalized, although none was critically ill.

The confirmed cases all involved E. coli O157:H7, state health department spokeswoman Marla Augustine said Tuesday. That particular strain attacks the digestive tract and, in severe cases, can cause kidney failure and death.

The suspected source was contaminated lettuce in the salad bar, said Mike Kutch, president of Tri-Golden Management of Evergreen, Colo., which owns the restaurant.

``Once (the outbreak) was brought to our attention, we’ve been cooperating with the health department,″ said Kutch. ``It’s a bad thing to happen.″

State Epidemiologist Thomas Safranek said all those sickened were in the Kearney area during the weekend of Feb. 26-28.

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