CDC Investigating Fast-Moving E. Coli Outbreak

CDC Investigating Fast-Moving E. Coli Outbreak
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta on April 23, 2020. (Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Federal authorities said they are investigating an E. coli outbreak in Michigan and Ohio that has left approximately 30 people sickened.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 29 people have become ill due to the E. coli outbreak since late July. Nine of those individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported so far.

“Michigan and Ohio have both reported large increases in the number of E. coli infections in their states. Some of these illnesses have not yet been reported to the PulseNet system, but investigators are working quickly to add them to PulseNet to determine if they may be part of this outbreak,” the CDC said in an update this week.

Those who were sickened are aged 6 to 91 years, according to the CDC. The source of the outbreak has not yet been determined.

“As mentioned above, the true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the agency said. “This is because some of the recent illnesses have not yet been reported ... as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.”

“In addition, some people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli. State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick.”

E. coli symptoms include diarrhea, a fever higher than 102 degrees F, vomiting, and dehydration, according to health officials. The bacteria is often linked to spinach, lettuce, undercooked or raw meat, raw milk, and unpasteurized apple cider.

“Investigators are working quickly to identify the source of these infections. If a food item is identified, investigators will issue advice for people and businesses. People who are sick with E. coli symptoms should report their illnesses to their local or state health department,” said the CDC. “In general, to prevent getting sick from E. coli, follow these four steps when handling or preparing food: clean, separate, cook, and chill.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that it obtained reports of 98 cases of E. coli across Ottawa, Oakland, and Kent counties.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told NBC News that the outbreak occurred in a short time.

“This is certainly concerning and warrants investigation,” he said, adding, “We are working to identify a food linked to illness with our investigation partners and will issue advice to people and businesses if a food is identified.”

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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