By: Kaitlin Schroeder, WHIO.com
Public health investigators are looking into an E. coli outbreak with 17 cases recorded so far from the strain in seven states.
Those states include: Washington, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.
State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures in the week before their illness started.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and (often bloody) diarrhea. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.
People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.
DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.
To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:
- Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
- Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
- Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
- Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.