WXMI — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that it’s assisting Michigan and Ohio with an E. coli outbreak investigation.
The CDC says the outbreak strain of E. coli O157 has infected 29 people: 15 in Michigan and 14 in Ohio; however, the true number of sick people in the outbreak likely is higher.
So far, the outbreak hospitalized nine people and no deaths have been reported.
Researchers are trying to identify the unknown food source associated with the outbreak.
The CDC is using the PulseNet system to identify and confirm illnesses that are part of the outbreak.
PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.
DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).
WGS from the illnesses in PulseNet showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically, suggesting that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.
State and local public health officials continue to interview people about the foods they ate during the week before they got sick.
If investigators identify a specific food item, they will issue advice for people and businesses.
The CDC says you should do the following if you start to feel sick:
- Call your healthcare provider right away if you have severe E. coli symptoms
- Write down what you ate in the week before you got sick
- Report your illness to your local or state health department
- Answer public health officials’ questions about your illness
- Follow these four food safety steps to prevent getting sick from E. coli: clean, separate, cook and chill
E. coli symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. Some people can develop a fever, which usually isn’t very high.
Most people get better within five to seven days. Some infections are very mild; however, others can be severe or even life-threatening.