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Health, Science & Tech

Several Cases of E. Coli Reported at The Porch

The Porch restaurant in Oakland closed Wednesday in response to several E. coli cases among employees and customers.

The restaurant voluntarily closed for the day, but has been approved by the Health Department to re-open Thursday.

Karen Hacker, Director of Allegheny Health Department, said the restaurant is undergoing extensive cleaning.

“We are continuing our investigation, having taken samples from both food as well as various areas of the restaurant to find out where this infection might have emanated from, including taking samples from all of the employees as well,” Hacker said.

Hacker said the department recommended all the restaurant’s surfaces be cleaned - especially anywhere that meat products might have come in contact with, including grinders.

Five people have been diagnosed with the infections since October 1st, and four of them were hospitalized.  All are said to be recovering.

The department has asked health care providers to test their patients for the O157:H7 strain found in those infected.

According to the department, most cases of E. coli are harmless, but this strain can cause serious illness.

“It is known to create basically an abdominal compliance with bloody diarrhea, generally lasts four or five days, there isn’t any particular treatment for it, you just sort of get rid of it on your own, it can be certainly annoying,” Hacker said.

Other symptoms include severe stomach cramps and vomiting and usually appear three to four days after exposure.

Hacker said this strain is the result of eating contaminated foods.

“We do worry about meats, in particular, but it can be in unpasteurized foods like cheese and raw milk, those kinds of things,” Hacker said.

The Health Department said The Porch is cooperating and assisting with the investigation.

People who have experienced symptoms should contact their health care providers and the Health Department at 412-687-2243.

Those who have questions for The Porch can call their toll-free hotline at 855-368-8888.