FDA discusses latest E. coli outbreak

E. coli under 6,83x magnification. | Courtesy of the CDC
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an update on a multi-state outbreak of E. coli this week.

As of Friday, Dec. 4, a total of 52 people have been affected by the strain identified in this outbreak, across nine states with 20 hospitalizations associated with the disease. The majority of cases have been reported in Washington and Oregon with 27 and 13, respectively. Cases have also been reported in California, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. 

E. coli is a foodborne illness that typically presents itself with abdominal cramps and diarrhea that will often contain blood. E. coli presents symptoms when the microbe produces the Shiga toxin. Typical cases last approximately one week, but more severe complications including hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kind of kidney failure, are possible. At this time, there have been no accounts of this among reported E. coli cases.

One person that had become ill reported that they had eaten at a Chipotle Mexican Grill a week, before their illness occurred. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the company have been cooperating in the investigation. Locations that were closed due to the investigations have been reopened and the company has reported that it has expanded testing of supplies and has carried out sanitation and deep cleaning for affected locations.

The illness has not been reported among employees and testing done by the company showed no signs of the disease across approximately 2,500 individual tests of food and restaurant equipment.

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