By Miriam Falco, CNN
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Fri June 8, 2012
E. coli outbreak is from unknown source
- Local media report Louisiana toddler is only fatality
- Georgia has five cases, the most in one state
- Cause is unknown, but local and federal officials are investigating
Atlanta (CNN) -- Federal health officials say 14 people in six states have been sickened by the same strain of E. coli over the past couple of months.
According to CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell, 14 cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145 infection with the same DNA fingerprint were identified in six states. "Their illness onsets range from April 15 to May 12, 2012," she said. "Three ill persons have been hospitalized. One death has been reported in Louisiana."
Cases have been reported in Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, according to local health departments and media reports. The CDC would not reveal which other two states were reporting cases.
Louisiana health officials would confirm only that one child died and two adults were sickened in the New Orleans area. CNN affiliate WWL reported that the child was 21-month-old Maelan Elizabeth Graffagnini, who fought the infection for weeks at a local hospital.
Feds speed up E. coli investigation procedures
Georgia is reporting five cases, the most in one state.
"Four of five are female, and their ages range from 18 to 52, with a median of 34. Illness onsets range from (April 15-28); one case was hospitalized overnight for this illness, and no cases have died," said Suleima Salgado, deputy director of communications for the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The cases in Georgia have been mild, according to Dr. J. Patrick O'Neal, who heads the Division of Health Protection within the Georgia Department of Public Health.
He said Thursday, "I don't think there's need for great concern. I think awareness, yes, concern, no. We have outbreaks of various diarrheal diseases quite frequently."
According to the CDC, the most common strain is E.coli 0157. The strain in this outbreak is 0145. "As whole, the non-O157 serogroup is less likely to cause severe illness than E. coli O157," it said. "However, some non-O157 (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli) serogroups can cause the most severe manifestations of STEC illness."
The cause of the outbreak is unknown, and the investigation is ongoing on the federal and local levels. Infectious disease investigators have to interview the victims to determine what they all have in common.
E. coli can have an incubation period of as little as one day and as long as 10 days after exposure. According to the CDC, "the symptoms often begin slowly with mild belly pain or non-bloody diarrhea that worsens over several days." So investigators are dependent on people accurately remembering what they may have eaten or come into contact with before they got sick.
Food such as meat and poultry but also fruit and vegetables is often the source of E. coli infections. However, unpasteurized or raw milk, water that has not been disinfected, contact with cattle or contact with the feces of infected people are other sources of infections.
Young children, the elderly and people who have weakened immune systems (like cancer or HIV patients) are at greater risk for severe illness and death.
The best way to avoid getting sick is by washing hands frequently when preparing food as well as avoiding cross-contamination of food preparation areas by washing cutting boards, counters and utensils with hot, soapy water.
Properly washing hands after using the bathroom and after coming into contact with animals or being in their environments -- anywhere there may be traces of feces, where the bacteria could be lurking -- also helps.
Cooking meats thoroughly to at least 160°F or 70˚C kills the bacteria and prevents infection as well. Using a meat thermometer will most accurately help you determine that the food is thoroughly cooked.
Rate this article
Founder of Niger Delta People Volunteer Front, NPDVF, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, has said that he was ready, bullet for bullet, for those who want to ...
A strict order has been given to the authorities of the T.B Joshua led Synagogue Church of all Nations, SCOAN by the Greater Accra Regional ...
Emotions ran high, Tuesday, at Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, following startling revelations by suspected members of three syndicates, who specialised in selling human parts ...
Just came across this song in my email, apparently it leaked last night. Packaging by Tilaman produced by Legendary Beatz. Listen up, and share your thoughts ...
caption: Senator Nenadi Esther Usman ...
MilQ and Honey Fashion is a label that inspires and encourages every woman to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. We celebrate the ...
The Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) says it is not in any merger with any political party or association. This is contained in a communiqué signed by ...
Former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to resign from office for his inability to tackle the security challenges facing ...
British No 2 Heather Watson is ready to return to action at next week's French Open in Paris after overcoming glandular fever.Watson, who turned 21 ...
Phil Neville admits it is flattering to be linked with the manager's job at Everton and believes he has the experience.Neville, who has called time ...
Founder and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church, Prophet T.B. Joshua says in an unusual manner, God did not reveal the death of Ghana’s President, ... Full story