December 9, 2019

Ground Beef E. coli 0103 Outbreak Ends With 209 Sick

The ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak has ended with 209 people sick in 10 states and 29 hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The outbreak notice states that ill people in this outbreak ate ground beef from many sources. No single source of contamination was identified. But two processors did recall ground beef that may have been contaminated with E. coli O103.

Ground Beef E. coli 0103 Outbreak Ends With 209 Sick

The case count  by state is: Florida (5), Georgia (51), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (76), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (1), Ohio (12), Tennessee (59), and Virginia (2). Illness onset dates range from March 1, 2019 to May 1, 2019. The patient age range was less than 1 year to 84 years.

Two companies did recall ground beef sold to restaurants and other institutions. They are Grant Park Packing, which recalled 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 24, 2019. And K2D Foods, doing business as Colorado Premium Foods, recalled 113,424 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 23, 2019.

Fred Pritzker

Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “An E. col infection is painful and scary. We want to solve this outbreak.” Call him toll free at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202 for help.

Ill persons told investigators that they ate ground beef at home and in restaurants. Traceback investigations of beef eaten by ill people were completed. A common suppler of ground beef to grocery stores and other locations where ill people reported eating was not identified. The outbreak strain of E. coli O103 was found in a sample of ground beef collected from a location where ill people reported eating.

The outbreak investigation began in Kentucky in late March 2019, when officials there and in Georgia told the CDC about this outbreak. At first, officials thought that the outbreak may be linked to fast food outlets, mostly because the ages of the patients was so young. But no fast food outlet has been named by government officials since then.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe and painful abdominal and stomach cramps, along with a mild fever and diarrhea that is bloody ad watery. Symptoms usually begin 3 to 7 days after exposure to the pathogen. In some patients, especially children under the age of 5, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can develop. This illness is characterized by little to no urine output, lethargy, pale skin, easy bruising, and a skin rash. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor.

The CDC recommends that people handle ground beef carefully. Always cook it to 160°F as tested with a food thermometer. Avoid cross-contamination between the raw meat and surfaces in the kitchen as well as foods that are eaten uncooked. And wash your hands well with soap and water after working with raw ground beef.

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