CDC reports E. coli outbreak in seven states, 17 people infected

"E. coli Bacteria" by niaid, CC BY 2.0

NATIONWIDE, (WOWO) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating an E. coli outbreak that has affected people in seven states.

As of April 9, 17 people were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 22 to March 31, 2018.

Six people have been hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

So far, illnesses related to the outbreak have been reported in the following states:

  • Washington (1 person)
  • Idaho (4 people)
  • Missouri (1 person)
  • Ohio (1 person)
  • Pennsylvania (2 people)
  • New Jersey (6 people)
  • Connecticut (2 people)

Ill people range in age from 12-84 years, with the median age of 41. 65% of ill people are female.

The investigation is ongoing, but so far, the source of the outbreak has not been determined. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are working alongside the CDC to identify it, as it may be from a specific food item, grocery store or restaurant chain.

Symptoms of E. coli infections include diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. People usually become sick within two to eight days after swallowing the germ, but recover within one week.

General ways to avoid an E. coli infection include:

  • Washing your hands, especially after using the restroom or changing diapers, before or after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming, unless the package states they have already been washed.
  • Avoid raw milk, or other unpasteurized dairy products or juices.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

For more information on the outbreak, visit www.cdc.gov/ecoli.

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