July 17, 2024

Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee Hit Hardest in Ground Beef E. coli O103 Outbreak

Consumers in Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee have been hit hardest in the ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak that has sickened at least 177 people in 10 states. Those states alone have 158 sickened in this outbreak.

Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee Hit Hardest in Ground Beef E. coli O103 Outbreak

According to CDC and FDA reports, no one has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, in this outbreak, and no one has died. But 21 people have been hospitalized because their illness is so severe.

There have been two recalls of ground beef associated with this outbreak, although the CDC report states that there is no one business or brand that can account for all of the illnesses in this outbreak. K2D Foods recalled 113,424 pounds of raw ground beef products for possible E. coli O103 contamination on April 24, 2019. And Grant Park Packing recalled 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef for possible E. coli O103 contamination on April 25, 2019.

These recalls are notable because E. coli O103 is a relatively rare strain of the “Big Six” non-O157 pathogens. These bacteria were named as adulterants in food by the USDA in 2011. Other E. coli strains in that group include E. coli O11, O26, O121, O45, AND O145. These bacteria all produce Shiga toxins, that can cause serious illness and HUS if the toxin attacks the kidneys.

This outbreak was first discovered in Kentucky, when a group of E. coli O103 illnesses were diagnosed. At that time, officials thought that the outbreak was linked to some type of fast food outlet. That theory has not been discarded, although no other government agency has mentioned fast food since the CDC entered into the investigation.

The symptoms of an E. coli O103 infection include severe and painful abdominal and stomach cramps, along with diarrhea that is usually bloody or watery. People usually get sick about 3 to 7 days after they ingest food that is contaminated with this pathogen. Most people do see a doctor when they contract this infection, because the symptoms are so serious.

If you have been experiencing these symptoms, and you have eaten ground beef, either at home or in a restaurant recently, especially if you live in one of the outbreak states such as Kentucky, Georgia, or Tennessee, see your doctor. You may be part of this E. coli O103 outbreak.


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