Public health investigators are looking into an E. coli outbreak with 17 cases recorded so far from the strain in seven states, including one case in Ohio.
The Ohio case involved a 24-year-old woman in Mahoning County who was hospitalized but has since been released, according to Ohio Department of Public Health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said as of April 9, six of the 17 people were hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.
The source of the infections has not been identified, said the CDC isn’t recommending people avoid any particular, food, grocery store or restaurant.
State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures in the week before their illness started.
Symtoms of an E. coli infection vary but often include severe stomach cramps and (often bloody) diarrhea. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild but can also be severe or life-threatening.
If you think you have E. coli, the CDC says to talk to your health care provider or public health department and write down what you ate in the week before you get sick.
People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.
The Mahoning County case onset was March 24, said Melanie Amato, spokeswoman for Ohio Department of Public Health.
DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.
To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:
- Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
- Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
- Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
- Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
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