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Applebee’s restaurant officials have removed the chain’s popular Oriental Chicken Salad from the menu in Minnesota after at least seven diners fell ill with a rare strain of E. coli food poisoning, health officials said. The Applebee’s cases are among 13 reports of E. coli O111 infections in the state all tied to the same genetic strain of the bug — one that has not previously been seen in the U.S. In addition, two more cases have been reported in two other unidentified states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The six remaining cases in Minnesota appear to have no connection with Applebee’s, health officials said. Four of those sickened were hospitalized. Restaurant officials are cooperating fully with officials and pulled the salad and other ingredients included from the menu as a precaution. E. coli O111 is in the same family as the E. coli O157 typically tied to ground beef outbreaks. The infections are particularly dangerous to children and the elderly and can cause life-threatening complications. Anyone who visited a Minneapolis Applebee’s after June 20 and shows signs of diarrheal illness should contact a doctor.
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