Dozens have fallen ill during a five-state E. Coli outbreak

Dozens have fallen ill during a five-state E. Coli outbreak

CDC is reporting the 72 illnesses that PulseNet has confirmed are part of this outbreak.

Kentucky has the highest number of cases at 36 with Tennessee second with 21 reported infections.

So far, there have not been any deaths reported in connection to the most recent E. coli outbreak. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria isolated from the ill individuals through pulsed field gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing. Illnesses began on Mar 2, with Mar 29 as the latest illness onset.

In an earlier report, a health official from Kentucky said possible culprits include beef, chicken, and sliced American cheese and that fast food is a source of concern, based on some early reports. They range in age from 1 to 74 years, with a median of 17 years, and 55% are female.

Government scientists have not identified a food item, grocery store or restaurant chain as the source of these infections.

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Without a specific outbreak source identified, the CDC is recommending that consumers follow general advice for preventing food-borne illness, including regularly washing their hands, cooking meats to recommended temperatures, washing fruits and vegetables before eating, avoiding cross-contamination during cooking and not preparing food for others while sick.

A total of 72 confirmed cases have been reported across five states.

Health officials are reminding clinicians that antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E coli infections, as studies have shown that antibiotics increase the risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The CDC is labeling this outbreak a "rapidly evolving investigation", and indicates that updates will be provided as more information is available.