The Associated Press reports that a scattered E.coli outbreak was identified in 6 states and 14 people fell sick in April and May. Officials haven’t determined the cause of the outburst yet, but they will perform a series of investigations in the following days.
Hospitals in Southern states have been confronted with new cases of E.coli outbreaks in the past two months. Georgia reported that five patients were diagnosed with this disease and hospitalized, whereas Louisiana and Alabama reported four and two, respectively. Only one case was identified in Tennessee, Florida and California, according to the medical reports.
Similar E.coli outbreaks have taken place throughout the years in the United States, but the most dangerous one was registered in 1990 when numerous patients lost their lives after getting infested with the deadly strain E. coli O157:H7. While the 1990 outburst was caused by hamburger meat, recent cases have shown that bacteria could be found in other products, as well, such as, romaine lettuce.
One of the 14 patients that were recently diagnosed with E.coli, a child, passed away because his immune system was too weak. In fact, the disease tends to affect people who are either very young or very old, so doctors recommend them to strengthen their immune systems and to wash their hands as often as possible.
People who get in contact with the bacteria began to experience symptoms two to eight days later. If they don’t get medical treatment soon after they get sick, E.coli may poison the blood and even lead to kidney failure.
Health officials are doing their best to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. So far, they have identified bacteria in hamburger meat, produce, water and deer meat. Nevertheless, Stacey Bosch, the leader of the investigation, reassured everyone that these bacteria are not new; is just that scientists are able to identify them now because they have more knowledge about them. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has adopted various measures to prevent the occurrence of E.coli in local products.