A “fast-moving” E. coli outbreak of unknown origin has sickened at least 29 people in Michigan and Ohio, the CDC says.
Of the 15 cases in Michigan and 14 in Ohio, nine people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported, the CDC said. The true number of sick people is likely higher and the outbreak may not be limited to Ohio and Michigan.
“A food has not yet been identified as the source of this fast-moving outbreak,” the CDC said.
The Michigan and Ohio health departments are investigating the outbreak with PulseNet, which compares “DNA fingerprints of bacteria from patients” to find common elements in the cases, according to the CDC.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it’s working with local health departments in Kent, Ottawa, and Oakland counties.
“While reports of E. coli illness typically increase during the warmer summer months, this significant jump in cases is alarming,” Natasha Bagdasarian, MD, the chief medical executive at Michigan’s health department, said in a statement. “This is a reminder to make sure to follow best practices when it comes to hand hygiene and food handling to prevent these kinds of foodborne illness.”
The department has received 98 reports of E. coli in August, compared to only 20 cases in 2021. Laboratory results have linked some of those recent cases to each other.
The Ohio Department of Health says the state’s 14 cases occurred in Clermont, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Wood, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, and Summit counties, WBNS reported.
E. coli is a bacteria that can live in your intestines. People are usually infected by eating contaminated food or water. Common symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, constant fatigue, and diarrhea, which may be bloody.
People usually recover from E. coli infections in a few days, but some E. coli strains can make people extremely sick.
CDC.gov: “E. coli Outbreak with Unknown Food Source.”
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: “MDHHS, MDARD urge Michigan residents to practice food safety, monitor for E. coli symptoms as increase in cases investigated in three counties.”
WBNS: “E. coli outbreak reported in Ohio, Michigan.”