The Missouri Department of Health says it continues to assist with the ongoing investigation of suspected food borne  illness in the St. Louis area due to E. coli. The Department says currently, a team of epidemiologists, disease investigators and food safety experts are working in coordination with  local and federal partners to identify the cause of the reported illness.

The State Public Health Laboratory has received and begun testing 22 specimens reported to contain E. coli. While tests to definitively confirm a specific E. coli strain takes several days, five of these specimens have tested positive for shiga toxin, a byproduct of E. coli. Testing of the other specimens continues is currently underway.

Public health officials continue to urge anyone experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea, to seek medical attention. It is still possible for cases to surface, because the incubation period is 10 days.