March 13, 2008
The Texas Department of State Health Services has finished its investigation of six gastrointestinal illnesses that occurred in the Bastrop area the first week of March and reports finding no common source of infection, no additional matching illnesses and no evidence of a continuing health threat.
DSHS laboratory tests of samples from the six cases did not detect a toxin, virus or bacterium that could have caused the illnesses.
On March 7, after being notified of the six illnesses, DSHS issued a health alert advising anyone in the area with severe diarrhea to seek medical attention.
Initial testing by a private laboratory had indicated shiga toxin as the cause of the illnesses. But subsequent tests by the commercial lab and by the DSHS laboratory in Austin were negative for the toxin, which can be produced by several types of bacteria.
Samples have been sent to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory to see if more advanced testing can identify an organism. DSHS testing can detect live organisms. The CDC test can detect remnants of a dead organism.
Results of the CDC tests are not expected for several weeks.
(News Media: For more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)