The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an urgent warning about a mysterious outbreak of potentially-deadly E.coli that originated in Kentucky.
It has now spread to four other states, and they still do not know the source.
Fox News reports, “The outbreak has affected residents in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia — with the highest number of cases (46) reported in Kentucky.
“While no deaths have been reported, at least 11 people have been hospitalized due to the outbreak, according to the federal health agency [CDC].”
Last week, when the outbreak first began, a potential food-borne source was tentatively identified, but that has not been confirmed.
The official statement can be found on the CDC website:
“CDC, several states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 infections.
“This investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections.”
E.coli is a bacterial infection that can be spread through contaminated food, water, or contact with others who have the illness.
Some strains are completely harmless and do not cause illness, but many others cause gastrointestinal pathology, including stomach cramps and diarrhea.
For most people, the disease runs its course in several days. But for other, high-risk individuals, the risk can be life-threatening.
“This is especially true for pregnant women, newborns, older or elderly adults, and those with weakened immune systems.”
“There's currently an E. Coli outbreak of an irregular strand in the KY, OH, TN, GA, and VA. Please make sure you are washing your fruits and veggies, avoiding unpasteurized juices and dairy, properly washing surfaces after preparing meat, and most importantly WASHING YOUR HANDS.”
The best ways to minimize the risk of contracting E.coli is to follow these simple food preparation practices, such as frequent handwashing, washing of fruits and veggies, and cooking meat thoroughly.
To learn more about how to reduce your risk of contracting E.coli or any other food-borne illness, check out these tips on the CDC’s website, “Safer Food Saves Lives.”