Officials investigate E coli outbreak in six states
Atlanta, Ga., United States (4E) – An unexplained outbreak of the E. coli bacteria has been linked to 14 illnesses, including a child’s death, U.S. health officials confirm.
No form of contaminated food or other cause has been branded in the illnesses, which occurred in April and May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Three people were hospitalized, including a child in the New Orleans area who died last week.
The reported illnesses were peppered across six states. Georgia had five cases, Louisiana four and Alabama two, while Tennessee, Florida and California each had one.
E. coli is a large family of bacteria and most strains are harmless. The most deadly strain is considered E. coli O157:H7, which became infamous in the early 1990s when a deadly outbreak was linked with hamburger meat.
People usually get sick two to eight days after consuming the bacteria.
At greatest risk are the very young, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently implemented measures to increase detection of different strains of E. coli in meat. CDC officials said they’ve seen no evidence that meat was the source of the new outbreak.
Until health officials are able to identify the source of the new outbreak, experts advise people to cook meat thoroughly and avoid unpasteurized milk and ciders. In addition, a person who experiences a diarrhea-like illness should wash hands thoroughly and not prepare meals for others.