CLEVELAND, Ohio— Twenty-nine people across Ohio and Michigan have become ill due to infection with the bacteria E. coli, but the true number is expected to be much higher, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fourteen patients are reported to be ill in Ohio and 15 in Michigan, with nine hospitalizations and no deaths.
E. Coli infections are typically spread through contaminated food or water. The contaminated food source that led to the outbreak has not yet been identified said the CDC in a news release, but the agency is working to identify additional cases of illness and their common link. The number of people affected by the outbreak is expected to continue to rise over the next several days as the bacterial DNA from each infection
is sequenced and checked against the CDC national database. In any given outbreak of food born illness from a single source, the genetic material from the bacteria obtained from sick patients is highly similar. By sequencing the genome of bacterial samples taken from different patients and looking for patterns, the CDC says it can identify patients whose illness likely has a single source. Interviewing those patients about whatand where they have recently eaten can reveal the common food source of the illness.
The unpleasant symptoms of E. Coli infection are the result of a toxin produced by the bacteria. People usually start feeling sick roughly 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something contaminated with the bacteria . Symptoms can vary for each person, but typically include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and occasionally a low fever.
Most people get better in less than a week, but in some cases the symptoms can become sever or even lifethreatening. Follow these four food safety steps to prevent getting sick from E. coli.
If you think you may be ill with E. Coli, call your healthcare provider right away so you can get tested. Write down what you ate in the week before you got sick, and let your doctor know so they can report your case to appropriate local health department.
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