E.coli outbreaks associated with raw beef products have now viewed 177 people over 10 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.
It's a 21-person increase from when the CDC reported figures earlier this week, April 23. No deaths have been reported now, but more than 20 people have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak.
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The outbreak, which has caused at least two companies to recall thousands of pounds of raw meat steak, has hit residents in Florida, Georgia , Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. The highest number of cases has been reported in Kentucky, where 65 people have become ill.
E. coli are bacteria found in both human and animal intestines.
While most strains are harmless, some are pathogenic and can cause disease, which usually includes abdominal cramps and diarrhea, according to the CDC. The bacteria can be transmitted via contaminated water or food and sometimes through contact with other people and animals.
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While most recover after several days, some E. coli infections can be life threatening. This is especially true for pregnant, newborn, elderly or older adults and those with impaired immune systems.
The CDC recommends thorough hand washing, fruit and vegetable washing, cooked meat thoroughly, and avoids cross-contamination in cooking areas as ways to prevent E. coli disease.