CDC investigates E.coli outbreak in several states

A micrograph image showing a strain of E. coli bacteria

Enlarge Image A micrograph image showing a strain of E. coli bacteria. CDC via AP

An E. coli outbreak has sickened at least 72 people in five states - and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn't sure of the source.

Whole genome sequencing performed on isolates from the ill in this outbreak indicates that the strains are closely related genetically, suggesting that the sickened individuals likely to share a common source of infection.

The CDC is investigating a multistate E coli outbreak. The agency added that state officials are probing more illnesses that might be part of the outbreak.

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States reporting sick patients are Georgia (8 patients), Kentucky (36), OH (5), Tennessee (21) and Virginia (2). Although no deaths have been reported, "of 47 people with information available, eight have been hospitalized" because their cases have been so severe, the CDC said. Illnesses began on Mar 2, with Mar 29 as the latest illness onset. Ill individuals range in age from 1 to 74 years with a median age of 17. Fifty-five percent are female.

The investigation by the CDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is ongoing and no specific food item, grocery store or restaurant chain has been identified as the source of infections, according to the CDC investigation notice. As a result, they are not recommending consumers to avoid a particular food at this time. However, illnesses can start anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.

People can become sick after eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated by E. coli bacteria.

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