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A strain of E. coli has sickened 14 people in six different states over the past couple of months.
According to CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell, 14 cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145 infection have been identified in six different states. The illnesses onsets are between April 15 to May 12, 2012, but the most recent case was reported on June 4. Of the 14 cases, three people were hospitalized and one death occurred in Louisiana.
So far, 2 cases have been reported in Alabama, 1 case in California, Florida, and Tennessee, 4 in Louisiana, and 5 in Georgia.
Health officials in Louisiana have only confirmed that the one child who died was 21-month-old Maelan Elizabeth Graffagnini, who fought the infection for weeks at the hospital. In New Orleans, three adults have been sickened.
In Georgia, four of the five cases are female, and their ages range from 18 to 52. Only one case so far in the state has required hospitalization overnight.
The CND is reporting that most clinical laboratories do not regularly test for the E.coli O154, but the strain is one of six that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services began testing in ground beef.
Currently, the cause of the outbreak is unknown and infectious disease investigators will have to interview the victims to help determine what all the cases have in common.
In order to avoid getting sick, you should wash your hands frequently when preparing food with hot, soapy water, and cook meats throughly to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the bacteria.