December 8, 2019

Northfork Bison E. coli Outbreak Ends With 33 Sick

The Northfork Bison E. coli outbreak has ended with 33 people sick in 8 states, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eighteen people were hospitalized because they were so sick, and there were no deaths reported. The pathogens in this outbreak that made people sick were E. coli O103 and E. coli O121.

Northfork Bison Ground Beef E. coli Outbreak Ends With 33 Sick

The case count by state is: Connecticut (2), Florida (a6), Illinois (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (3), New York (14), and Pennsylvania (5). No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, were reported. Illness onset dates ranged from March 18, 2019 to August 11, 2019. The patient age range was from 6 to 80 years.

Northfork Bison Distributions recalled its ground bison, called Bison Ground, and its ground bison patties, called bison burgers and/or Buffalo Burgers that were produced between February 22 and April 30, 2019. Some of this meat may still be in consumers’ freezers. Check your freezer carefully to see if you have these products. If you do, throw them away in a sealed container in a secure garbage can, or take them back to the place of purchase for a full refund.

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If you do have some of this product in your home, clean out your fridge or freezer with a mild bleach solution after you discard the bison products. Wash your hands well with soap and water after cleaning and after you handle these recalled products.

The FDA and CDC analyzed traceback and epidemiological information and found that ground bison supplied by Northfork Bison Distributions was the likely cause of illnesses. The FDA conducted lab analysis on bison patties packed by the firm on February 26, 2019 and found the outbreak strain of E. coli O121. And records were collected from restaurants where ill persons said they ate ground bison; those records showed that Northfork Bison Distributions provided the meat to those facilities.

This outbreak is a good reminder to always cook all ground meats to 160°F as tested with a reliable food thermometer. Ground poultry should be cooked to 165°F. Avoid cross-contamination between raw meats and other items that are eaten uncooked. And always clean areas where you work with raw meats before you use that area for any other food preparation.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include mild fever, severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be bloody or watery. Symptoms generally start within a few days after eating food contaminated with this pathogen. If you have eaten these ground bison products and have been sick with these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this Northfork Bison E. coli outbreak.

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