Four of the five cases were hospitalized, though none developed kidney failure.
"The Department of Health is working very closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture to provide any information that can help in identifying the source of the E.coli cases," Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our partners to identify cases in Pennsylvania and, we hope, prevent any additional illnesses."
The ill persons ate at four different Hoss's restaurants between March 24- 29, in Centre, Dauphin, Venango and York counties. The restaurant exposures are the only common link among the individuals and suggests that the source of the infections is an item consumed at the restaurants, according to the agency. All confirmed cases ate different cuts of steak. Several reported the item was requested and consumed rare or medium-rare.
Because the number of cases is small and the exposure period was several weeks ago, the health department believes the risk to Hoss's customers is low. The USDA has issued a recall of steak products from H-F-X, Inc., which is Hoss's processing and distribution center in South Claysburg, PA. The company is fully cooperating with federal and state authorities in the recall and illness investigation.