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At least 29 people have gotten sick during a quick move E. coli outbreak in Michigan and Ohio, while the source of the outbreak is still unknown.
Of the confirmed cases, 15 are in Michigan and 14 are in Ohio. No deaths have been reported from the outbreak, but at least nine people have been hospitalized.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said those the numbers are likely to be underestimated and that “the true number of people sick in this outbreak is probably higher.”
The CDC is asking for help finding the source of the outbreak. if you are experiencing E. coli symptoms, you should write down everything you ate in the week before you got sick and report your illness to the local health department.
This outbreak is larger than the usual summer increase.
Symptoms of E. coliIllnesses vary from person to person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody, vomiting, and fever. These symptoms usually begin within three to four days of ingesting the bacteria, the CDC said, and most people recover without treatment within a week.
While the source of the current outbreak is unknown, some of the cases have been linked to each other through tests and lab results, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.
Michigan has seen an increase in E. coli infections compared to the same time last year. At least 98 cases have been recorded this August compared to 20 cases in the same period last year.
“While reports of E. coli illness typically increase during the warmer summer months, this significant jump in cases is alarming,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical officer for MDHHS. in a sentence. “This is a reminder to make sure you follow best practices when it comes to hand hygiene and food handling to prevent these types of foodborne illnesses.”
CDC offers advice on how to avoid E. coli infections
To help prevent E. coli infections, the CDC recommends keeping things clean. This includes frequent hand washing, washing surfaces and utensils, and rinsing produce before eating or preparing.
Separating things like raw meats from foods that won’t be cooked also helps decrease the chance of contamination.
Temperature is also important. Making sure your meats are cooked to a high enough temperature helps kill germs, the CDC said. Keeping perishable foods refrigerated or making sure they return to the fridge within two hours is also a good prevention practice.