E. coli Reported in Tennessee


UPDATE from cdc.gov:

  • Preliminary interview information from ill people suggests that ground beef is the source of this outbreak. At this time, no common supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has been identified.
  • Ill people in this outbreak report eating ground beef at home and in restaurants.
  • The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurant locations where ill people ate.
  • At this time, CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid eating ground beef or retailers stop serving or selling ground beef.
  • Raw ground beef should be handled safely and cooked thoroughly to kill germs that could cause foodborne illness.
  • Since the last update on April 9, 2019, 13 additional ill people have been reported. This brings the total number of cases to 109.
  • Seventeen ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths and no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure) have been reported.
  • Reported illnesses began from March 2, 2019 to March 26, 2019.
  • This is the third-largest multistate E. coli outbreak reported in 20 years.
    The multistate investigation began on March 28, 2019, when officials in Kentucky and Georgia notified CDC of this outbreak.
  • This is a rapidly evolving investigation. CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.

Original Story:

Tennessee is one of 5 states reporting recent cases of E. coli in what national news networks have termed a “mysterious outbreak.” Committed to educating Tennesseans on the risk of infection, Ascension Saint Thomas offers the following notes and recommendations:

  • At least 96 cases of E. coli have been reported in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio, and Virginia in recent weeks. The youngest reported infected individual is 1 year old and the oldest is 81. Hospitalizations have ensued, but no deaths have occurred. Fortunately, there have been no yet-identified cases of kidney failure—a serious potential complication of E. coli infection.
  • Unlike the outbreak that extended from October to December of 2018 and was ultimately attributed to romaine lettuce grown in three counties in California, this spring’s cases of E. coli have yet to be connected to a point of origination. The CDC is conducting a sweeping investigation.
  • Symptoms of infection usually appear 3 or four days after exposure, which typically comes from contaminated food or water. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, dehydration, and decreased appetite. While certain benign strains of E. coli reside in the intestines of most healthy people and animals, the strain responsible for the recent outbreak is called E. coli 0103.
  • Washing your hands with soap and hot water after using the restroom and before cooking, serving, or eating food is the best practice for protection. Clean all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming and consider using a cooking thermometer to ensure that all meats are properly prepared. The USDA recommends that beef, pork, veal, and lamb reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees and that all ground meats reach 160 degrees.

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