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E. coli outbreak: 196 people in 10 states now sick, linked to ground beef

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5/13/2019 Zlati Meyer

a pink box filled with different types of food on a tray: Ground beef at the supermarket © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Ground beef at the supermarket The number of people sickened in the 10-state E. coli outbreak has grown to 196 cases, including 28 hospitalizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday. No one has died.

That's up from the 177 people in 10 states the CDC reported on April 26.

The CDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and state officials continue to investigate E. coli O103 infections linked to ground beef.

Grant Park Packing of Franklin Park, Illinois, recalled an estimated 52,300 pounds of raw ground beef on April 24 and K2D Foods, doing business as Colorado Premium Foods, in Carrollton, Georgia, recalled more than 113,400 pounds on April 23.

According to the CDC's most recent data, Kentucky has 69 cases, followed by Tennessee with 55 and Georgia with 49. Ohio is home to 12 cases, Florida five cases and Virginia two cases. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Mississippi have one case each.

"Ill people bought or ate ground beef from several different grocery stores and restaurants," the CDC said. "Many ill people bought large trays or chubs of ground beef from grocery stores and used the meat to make dishes like spaghetti sauce and sloppy joe."

The victims range from younger than a year old to 84 years old with a median age of 19 and 52% are female, the CDC said. Two people were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to life-threatening kidney failure. Illnesses after March 21 might not be reported yet due to delays between when a person gets sick and when it's reported — a lag of two to three weeks on average.

People who've ingested Shiga toxin-producing E. coli usually get sick three to four days afterward. Symptoms, which tend to last five to seven days, include severe stomach cramps; diarrhea, often bloody, and vomiting. 

The CDC reminds consumers to cook ground beef thoroughly to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill germs and casseroles that include ground beef as an ingredient to 165°F. Also, anyone who handles raw ground beef should wash their hands with soap and clean kitchen implements with hot, soapy water or a bleach solution.


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