DNA links E. coli at Georgia water park to Florida burger supplier

ATLANTA (AP) — The same strain of E. coli bacteria that sickened more than two dozen children who had visited a water park was found in beef recalled by a Florida supplier.
“The genetic match tells us that beef could have been the way that the organism got into Georgia,” Georgia’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Blake, said Thursday. “It might have started the chain of infections that ultimately resulted in contamination of the water park.”
But Andy Solomon, spokesman for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, cautioned against drawing any cause-and-effect conclusion.
The outbreak in June was apparently caused when a child in diapers had an accident in the kiddie pool at a water park in suburban Atlanta. A 2-year-old died after experiencing kidney failure and other complications.
In May, Bauer Meat Co. recalled 37,500 pounds of patties supplied to Georgia, North Carolina and overseas military installations after a boy became ill from a school cafeteria hamburger. On Aug. 13, Max Bauer, the owner of Bauer Meat, committed suicide a day after his Ocala, Fla., processing plant was shut down by the Department of Agriculture.
Nancy Bartel, a USDA spokeswoman, wouldn’t comment on whether Bauer had been informed of the water park connection.