E. coli outbreak leaves dozens sick in the Midwest

Health

HAMBURG, GERMANY – JUNE 02: A lab technician holds a bacteria culture that shows a positive infection of enterohemorrhagic E. coli, also known as the EHEC bacteria, from a patient at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf on June 2, 2011 in Hamburg, Germany. German health authorities are continung to grapple with the current outbreak of EHEC and claim that initial suspicions of cucumbers from Spain as being the source are unfounded, though they warn against consuming raw vegetables. The University Medical Center has the highest number of patients infected with EHEC as well as 102 patients who have come down with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication that can lead to kidney failure, convulsions and epileptic seizures and is caused by EHEC. Authorites are reporting at least 2,000 cases of EHEC infection nationwide and at least 470 cases of HUS. Across Europe at least 17 people have died from the outbreak. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to trace the source of an E. coli outbreak after 29 people became ill in Ohio and Michigan.

The number infected could be higher, the CDC said, as they work to determine if the bacteria is behind others who have recently fallen ill in those states

As of Wednesday, there have been 14 cases in Ohio and 15 cases in Michigan, although the CDC did not detail where in each state the outbreaks took place.

While the food source has yet to be discovered, PulseNet — a CDC-operated national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses — reported that those who were infected with this strain of E. coli got it from the same food.

It’s just a matter of figuring out what food it was.

Until then, state and local health officials have taken to the streets for canvasing, asking people what food they ate in the weeks leading up to their illnesses.

The CDC says to call your health care provider if you have any of these E. coli symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
    • Not urinating much
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Feeling dizzy when standing up

Additionally, they give these instructions to prevent getting sick from E. coli:

  • Clean: Wash your hands, utensils and surfaces often. Rinse fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting or peeling.
  • Separate: Keep food that won’t be cooked separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer to make sure you have cooked your food to a temperature high enough to kill germs
  • Chill: Refrigerate perishable food within two hours. If the food is exposed to temperatures above 90 (such as in a hot car or at a picnic), refrigerate within one hour. Thaw food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

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