Georgians Sickened In Multi-State E. Coli Outbreak

Apr 8, 2019

The Atlanta-based Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is trying to figure out the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 72 people in five states, including Georgia.

Because no specific food, store or restaurant has been connected to the outbreak, the CDC has made no recommendations concerning foods or places to avoid.

To avoid exposure, the CDC recommends hand washing after using the toilet and before preparing meals; wash fruits and vegetables well under running water; cook meat thoroughly; avoid unpastuerized products; and don’t swallow water when swimming and when playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools and backyard “kiddie” pools.

People usually start feeling sick two to eight days after eating, and symptoms of the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/38.5˚C). Most people get better within five to seven days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening, according to the CDC.

Five to 10% of people can develop a life-threatening complication about a week after the onset of symptoms, called hemolytic uremic syndrome. It occurs as diarrhea starts improving, but symptoms include frequency of urination, feeling very tired and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. People with this complication should be hospitalized because their kidneys could start to fail.