A multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O103 now has a known source: ground beef. As of April 12th, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 109 infections in six states—Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. Seventeen people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
The ground beef source was identified by investigators after a preliminary epidemiologic traceback effort. Some of the patients reported eating ground beef at home and in restaurants. The investigation continues so that health officials can pinpoint the source of the ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurant locations where the ill people ate.
So far, no common supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has been identified. CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid eating ground beef at this time, nor is the agency advising restaurants or retailers to stop serving or selling ground beef. Consumers and restaurants should handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly to avoid foodborne illness.
More on this outbreak:
E. coli Illnesses in 5 State Share Unknown Source