The E. coli outbreak in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia has expanded to include 96 people, half of whom are under 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health officials are still trying to determine the food source of the outbreak.

The outbreak has grown quickly over the course of the last week. It began at the end of March with 19 illnesses reported in Kentucky among people with significant exposure to fast food. Then it expanded to Tennessee and Ohio.  Then, a few days later, it expanded to Virginia and Georgia with 82 people sick.

Health officials have used a test called Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to determine the “genetic fingerprint” of the E. coli O103 outbreak strain. When someone has an E. coli infection, this test, or a similar one called Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE), is performed on a stool sample cultured from the patient. If the genetic fingerprint matches another, it means the patients were sickened by the same source. Once a likely food source is identified, samples of it and can be tested as well as samples collected from the facilities and farms where they were produced.

In this outbreak, illnesses were reported from March 2, 2019 and March 26, 2019 among 96 people who range in age from 1 year and 81 years old. Half of them are under the age of 17. Eleven people have been hospitalized.

Little girl clutching her stomach in pain

If you have an E. coli infection and would like a free consultation with the Pritzker Hageman E. coli Team, call 1 (888) 377-8900,  text 612-261-0856. Or, complete the short form below. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.