LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Investigations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point to ground beef as the source of a multi-state E. coli outbreak.
Health officials worked to nail down the source of the outbreak by interviewing each patient for details on what they ate days before the symptoms started. The CDC said Friday ill people reported eating ground beef at home and in restaurants.
The source of ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurant locations where ill people ate has not yet been discovered.
The CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid eating ground beef, rather they’re stressing the importance of making sure meat is fully and properly cooked before consumption. Thorough cooking can kill germs that could cause foodborne illness.
When handling raw ground beef, health officials recommend the following:
- Cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160˚F.
- Wash hands with soap and water after touching raw ground beef.
- Make sure counter tops, utensils and cutting boards are washed with soap or bleach solution after they’ve come in contact with raw ground beef.
- Raw ground beef that is thawed in the refrigerator should be cooked or refrozen within two days.
- Keep raw ground beef away from foods that won’t be cooked before eating.
The multi-state outbreak started on March 2, 2019, according to the CDC. Indiana. Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia are dealing with multiple confirmed cases respectively, but Kentucky currently has the highest count of confirmed cases at 54. In total, 109 cases have been reported.
Only one case has been confirmed in Indiana.
No deaths have been reported in the outbreak, though 17 people have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of the infection, which typically start three to four days after consuming the bacteria, include diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, blood in the stool and vomiting.