E. Coli cases in NJ part of larger national problem, CDC says

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An E. coli outbreak has affected 17 people across seven states over the last month.

In a Tuesday, April 10 update, the CDC reports the outbreak had further reached the Midwest in OH and Pennsylvania. People who develop symptoms of E. coli, should seek medical care, contact their local health department to report the illness, and try to track what foods were eaten and restaurants visited in the days prior to becoming ill.

No word on what caused it. The illnesses began between March 22 and March 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Jersey has been hit the hardest, with six cases of the infection.

Even though the first E. Coli cases have been registered on the U.S. territory in late March, only in April the situation has become more serious and was called an outbreak. According to the CDC, there were 2 reported outbreaks of E. coli in 2017 linked to leafy greens and SoyNut Butter.

"CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid any particular food at this time". Currently, New Jersey is the state with the most reported outbreaks, six cases of E. coli-related illness affecting residents. Restaurants and retailers are not advised to avoid serving or selling any particular food. Symptoms include diarrhea, which can be bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Hemolytic uremic syndrome can be treated in many cases. "These detectives who are called epidemiologists will go and start investigating, they will look at all patients", Dr. Raj Kapila, a professor in the department of medicine at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told CBS New York.

Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160 degrees F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.

As always, proper food cleaning and preparation is the best defense.

Don't prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

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