OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - State health officials have confirmed that a Locust Grove restaurant is positively linked to a deadly E. coli outbreak.
The illness has killed one man and left dozens sick including several children who are undergoing dialysis.
Many of the sick recently ate at the Country Cottage and state epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley said Wednesday that the restaurant is “definitely” at least one source of the infection.
Bradley also said tests indicate it's likely food was contaminated at the restaurant rather than before it arrived. It has not been determined how the food was contaminated.
Two of the workers at the restaurant are among the ill, but it has not been determined if they caused the contamination or got sick from eating there.
Country Cottage spokeswoman Amanda Clinton said the restaurant's owners are distraught and it's not clear if it will open again.
Chad Ingle, a 26-year-old Pryor bank employee, ate at the Country Cottage on Aug. 17 and began to get sick last week. He died Sunday.
At least 41 people have been hospitalized, including several young children who needed dialysis due to kidney failure. More than three-fourths of the victims ate at the restaurant.
Oklahoma State Department of Health officials plan to send laboratory specimens to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further analysis and said they couldn't predict how long the outbreak would continue.
Those who were sickened include residents from Bixby, Pryor, Sand Springs, Locust Grove, Broken Arrow, Peggs, Tulsa and McAlester. The restaurant is in a community of about 1,500 located 50 miles east of Tulsa.
The facility is about a one-hour drive from Miami.
The health department reported that the illnesses present a very severe and bloody diarrhea with symptoms including vomiting and severe abdominal cramping.
The incubation period from time of exposure can range from two to 10 days.