The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies are looking for the source of an outbreak of Escheria coli which has infected 14 people and caused one fatality in 6 states. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the CDC has announced it is collaborating with public health officials to investigate the multistate outbreak.
According to the agency, this particular E. coli bacteria belongs to the 0145 strain, with victims showing signs of infection from 15 April to 12 May 2012. The 0145 strain responsible for this outbreak (including three hospitalizations and one fatality) has been reported in the following states:
- Alabama - 2 cases
- California - 1 case
- Florida - 1 case
- Georgia - 5 cases
- Louisiana - 4 cases, 1 fatality
- Tennessee - 1 case
This particular strain is referred to as a Shiga toxin producing E. coli because of its ability to produce poison which causes bloody diarrhea and kidney failure. Patients identified with the current outbreak are predominately female (79%) and range from 1 year to 79 years of age.
E. coli infections commonly occur after its victims ingest infected food products. Typical symptoms associated with E. coli poisoning include gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections and neonatal meningitis. People most susceptible to E. coli infection include the very young, elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems.
In order to get a handle on the current outbreak, state health officials have been interviewing infected persons for information about foods they have eaten as well as any other sources of exposure leading up to the onset of illness.
Meanwhile, the CDC, which began its investigation on 14 May 2012, is working with public health officials to identify new cases as well as the source of the infections.
Health officials suggest the following tips to prevent E. coli infections:
- Properly wash your hands before eating.
- Properly cook food until its well done.
- Clean all cutting boards and utensils.
For more information about E. coli please visit the CDC's E. coli homepage.
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"CDC Investigating E. Coli Outbreak in 6 States" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.