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Thursday, October 6, 2022
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CDC Assisting Michigan and Ohio with E. coli O157 Outbreak with Unknown Food Source

WGS from the illnesses in PulseNet showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically.

A CDC investigation notice regarding a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157 infections is now live: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2022/o157h7-08-22/index.html

Key points:

  • 29 people infected with the outbreak strain of coli O157 have been reported from 2 states: Michigan (15) and Ohio (14). Nine hospitalizations and no deaths have been reported.
  • A food has not yet been identified as the source and this investigation is ongoing.
  • The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported by CDC. Michigan and Ohio have both reported large increases in the number of coli infections in their states. Public health officials are working to determine how many of these infections are linked to the outbreak.
    • CDC is using the PulseNet system to identify and confirm illnesses that are part of this outbreak. CDC 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. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.
    • Some of the illnesses reported in Michigan and Ohio 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 number of illnesses reported by CDC is expected to increase.
  • State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick.
  • If a food item is identified, investigators will issue advice for people and businesses.

What You Should Do:

  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have severe coli symptoms.
  • If you have symptoms of coli, help us solve this outbreak:
    • 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 coli: clean, separate, cook, and chill.

About E. coli:

  • Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing coli (STEC) infection vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/38.5˚C).
  • Most people get better within 5 to 7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.
  • Most people with a STEC infection start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you have severe symptoms of coli, such as diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, bloody diarrhea, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and are not peeing much.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

Read more at CDC

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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