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OROVILLE, Calif. – A fundraising benefit for the Forest Ranch volunteer fire department has been identified as the source of a recent outbreak of E. coli related illnesses in Butte County. The fundraiser took place on September 6, 2008. There have been 13 reported cases of E. coli related illnesses. Four people have been hospitalized and one young girl had to be air lifted to U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

The Chico Enterprise Record reports today that Butte County health officials suspect that the E. coli bacteria was contained in tri-tip meat served at the benefit. The strain is the dangerous E. coli 0157:H7. How the bacteria was introduced to the meat has not been determined.

Between 300 and 400 people attended the fundraiser. If you attended and are having any abdominal disorders, flu-like symptoms, feelings of weakness or malaise, you should be examined immediately. Young children and the elderly are particularly at risk for the serious complications that can accompany ingestion of this bacteria. Be safe and check with your physician.

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