CDC: Ground beef behind E. coli outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said that the outbreak has hospitalized 17 people and that patients had reported eating ground beef both at home and at restaurants before falling ill

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said that the outbreak has hospitalized 17 people and that patients had reported eating ground beef both at home and at restaurants before falling ill

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday preliminary information suggested ground beef could be responsible for a recent E.coli outbreak that has spread across six states.

"Ill people in this outbreak report eating ground beef at home and in restaurants", the CDC said in its outbreak update.

Further investigations of the CDC will focus on tracing the common brand, supplier, or distributor of ground beef associated with the sick individuals.

Seventeen patients have been hospitalized due to their illness.

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"Ill people bought or ate ground beef from several different grocery stores and restaurants". Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps and usually last between five to seven days.

Anyone expericing symptoms of an E.coli infection are encouraged by the CDC to contact their healthcare provider "if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you can not keep liquids down and you pass very little urine".

Now, health officials may finally have the answer: ground beef. They begin, on average, three to four days after ingesting the bacteria. No deaths and no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure) have been reported. Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until testing has been performed.

What To Do Amid E. Coli Outbreak? Consumers are not being asked to avoid beef products. They're also not discouraging retailers from serving or selling ground beef. Proper hygiene and cleanliness of the kitchen are also crucial when handling raw meat. But, as always, people should be careful when they handle raw beef and make sure to cook it properly - to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). After cooking the beef, refrigerate it within 2 hours and use it within 3 or 4 days. Refrigerated meat should also be used within a day or two. "It is crucial that the public understands how serious E. coli O103 infections can be, and to heed all recommended precautions about handwashing and food preparation".

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