Multi-state E.coli outbreak - what you need to know
109 people are currently infected with E.coli 0103 strain in six states - Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Seventeen of these individuals have been hospitalized. Preliminary epidemiologic information indicates the possible source of the outbreak is ground beef. Health authorities have not identified a common supplier, distributor or brand.
CDC officials are not recommending consumers and restaurants to avoid eating or selling ground beef at this time.
The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) offers the following prevention measures to take to protect yourself and your family from E. coli.
Handling ground beef
- Separate raw meat from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Thoroughly wash surfaces and kitchen items that come in contact with raw meat. This includes countertops, cutting boards, plates, utensils, etc. Use hot, soapy water or a bleach solution to disinfect surfaces or kitchen items.
- Thoroughly wash hands after handling meat. Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Be sure to lather the backs of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails. Hand sanitizer should not be used as an alternate for handwashing.
Cooking ground beef
- Do not eat raw or undercooked ground beef. Use a food thermometer to make sure the meat reaches a safe internal temperature. 160°F is the safe internal temperature for ground beef.
Storing ground beef
- Refrigerate or freeze raw ground beef within two hours of purchase.
- If you refrigerate raw ground beef, use within one-two days.
Thawing ground beef
- To safely thaw ground beef, place it in the refrigerator. Cook or refreeze within one-two days.
Symptoms of E.coli include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. If you think you’ve may have gotten sick from eating ground beef, talk to your doctor and report the illness to the Galveston County Health District at 409-938-2350, 409-938-2208, 409-938-2215 or email@example.com”. For more information about the investigation of E.coli and ground beef, click here.