Following infections across multiple states, the Georgia Department of Health has issued a release confirming an E. coli outbreak has reached Georgia.
So far the DPH and Center for Disease Control and Prevention “have confirmed 17 cases of E. coli O103 infection in Georgia,” according to a release from Nancy Nydam, the GDPH Director of Communications.
As of this point, “a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source” of the infections sweeping across the states of Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. Currently, DPH is interviewing the infected individuals about foods they ate before they contracted the illness, as well as searching for other common factors between them.
In the release, the DPH states that “Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing complicatiosn from E. coli infection,” and warns the public that “It is crucial…to heed all recommended precautions about handwashing and food preparation.”
The CDC recommends that those who prepare food wash their hands, surfaces, utensils and dishes often, make sure not to cross contaminate raw meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs with ready to eat foods, and to keep cutting boards separate.
Additionally, they say to make sure you cook food the the right temperatures and refrigerate leftovers promptly at least below 40 degrees Farenheit and within two hours of finishing preparation.
At this time, the total number of infected is 96 with 11 hospitalizations according to the CDC. Numbers for each state are as follows: