The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has released a list of the nine Applebee’s locations where patrons have become ill with E. coli 0111 poisoning. These include locations in eight cities in Minnesota: two Applebee locations Blaine , and a single Applebee location in each of Bemidji, Duluth, Roseville, Willmar, Woodbury, Monticello and New Hope. The St. Cloud location, on Division Street was also initially on the list of possible sources, but has since been removed by investigators. The MDH has confirmed, so far, at least15 E. coli O111 outbreak victims – at least a dozen of whom ate at one of the above named Applebee restaurants between June 23 and June 29. According to the MDH release, “[n]o additional details are available regarding specific ingredients, but the Minnesota Department of Agriculture continues to trace back ingredients to suppliers and points of origin looking for a common source.”
The victims range in age from at least 16 to 84, this according to MDA Rapid Response team spokesperson, Carrie Rigdon, who also noted that E. coli 0111 is less common than E. coli 0157:H7, with only about 20 to 30 cases reported annually in Minnesota.
Among the victims, 14 of the 15 victims had been interviewed by epidemiologists from the State of Minnesota as of July 17th. At least four of those had been hospitalized, says epidemiologist Stephanie Meyer, but that number could grow as more details are released.
The investigation, which is ongoing, has not yet revealed the source of the E. coli 0111, but there is a strong indication that the E. coli came from a common vendor to Applebee’s, given the number of location currently linked to the outbreak. As for the individual restaurants, out of an abundance of caution a number of them have ordered the removal of the oriental chicken salad from the menu and the quarantine of ingredients linked to it, including green cabbage and shredded carrots. Preliminary reports state that some of the 15 victims reported having consumed the oriental chicken salad.