The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several states, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections. The investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections. CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid any particular food at this time. Restaurants and retailers are not advised to avoid serving or selling any particular food.
Take action if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:
Talk to your healthcare provider.
Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
Report your illness to the health department.
Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.
Follow these general ways to prevent E. coli infection:
Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Cook steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and let rest for 3 minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove. Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
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 eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the germ. Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Most people recover within one week. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in young children under 5 years, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of HUS can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination. People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
E. coli infection is usually diagnosed by testing a stool sample.
Outbreak at a glance:
Case Count: 17