E. Coli 0145 Outbreak May be Tied to Ground Beef

UPDATE: 11:48 a.m.: Just announced via CNN, 14 people in six states have been effected by this strain during the past couple of months. “”Their illness onsets range from April 15 to May 12, 2012,” said Lola Russell from the CDC. Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Florida are the known effected states; the CDC will not reveal the other two states.

Another dangerous E. coli outbreak, centered in Atlanta, Georgia, is being investigated by health officials.

Five people have been hospitalized and a toddler has passed away. The CDC has said that they have not identified the cause and at this time no specific food is responsible for the outbreak. Food is the primary source for spreading this bacteria.

“At this time, we continue to interview new cases as we are notified of them,” Nicole Price, spokeswoman for Georgia’s Department of Public Health, told ABC News. We have detected no food items or environmental exposures that are statistically associated with illness at this time. This investigation is ongoing.” However, according to iScienceTimes.com, investigators are looking closely at ground beef for the source of this outbreak.

The CDC has said that E. coli 0145 is the strand being investigated. This strand is dangerous, but not common, and was responsible for the outbreak that occurred in 2010 leaving more than 20 people sick. E. coli 0145 produces a toxin that can cause kidney failure.

The CDC says that E. coli are a large and diverse group of bacteria, with some causing diarrhea, UTI, respiratory illness, pneumonia, and even death.

To protect yourself from E. coli, be sure to thoroughly wash any fruits and vegetables before preparing or eating them. As well, rare or undercooked meats present a significant source for contracting E. coli and other food-borne illnesses. Use a meat thermometer or cook until the center juices run clear. Keep all utensils and work spaces in your kitchen clean, especially after handling raw meat, using disinfectant and fresh rags.

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