The Source of That Mysterious E. Coli Outbreak Has Likely Been Found

The Source of That Mysterious E. Coli Outbreak Has Likely Been Found

The Centers for Disease Control announced Friday that an investigation into an E.coli outbreak has been tied to ground beef.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurant locations where ill people ate. However, "at this time, no common supplier, distributor or brand of ground beef has been identified". Among them, 17 have been hospitalized for the infection. According to CDC, the source is traced to ground beef.

Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. After consuming the bacteria, individuals usually get sick within three to four days.

As of the most recent update, this is the third largest E. coli outbreak in the United States in the last two decades. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli infections might increase their risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, and a benefit of treatment has not been clearly demonstrated. Fortunately, there haven't been any deaths or serious complications reported in association with this particular outbreak.

While the CDC has identified ground beef as a culprit, the agency is not recommending people to avoid consumption of ground beef.

The CDC recommends thorough handwashing, washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cross-contamination in food preparation areas as ways to prevent E. coli illness. They're also not discouraging retailers from serving or selling ground beef.

Also, "wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils" after touching raw meat, the agency said.

"To kill harmful germs, cook beef steaks and roasts to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and allow to rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove", the CDC advises.

Those who suspect they are infected with E. coli should talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

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