The Ohio Department of Health (ODH), in collaboration with local health departments in Ohio, and other state and federal partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Ohio and Michigan.
The confirmed Ohio and Michigan cases have been linked both epidemiologically and genetically to this outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The 19 Ohio cases being investigated are in Franklin (nine confirmed, two probable), Delaware (one confirmed), Fairfield (four confirmed), Lucas (one confirmed), Seneca (one confirmed) and Union (one confirmed) cases. One of those clients provided a ground beef sample that tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 at the Ohio Department of Agriculture Consumer Analytical Lab and has been forwarded to the ODH Lab for genetic fingerprinting to see if it matches the outbreak strain. Those results are pending.
“Ohioans need to take some simple steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from E. coli infection,” said ODH Director Alvin D. Jackson, M.D. “This outbreak only confirms the importance of prevention.”
Ohio averages 140 cases of E. coli O157:H7 annually.
• Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers, before and after eating or preparing food and after touching animal.
• Cook ground beef to 160° F. Test the meat by putting a food thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Wash the thermometer after each use. Don’t eat ground beef that is pink in the middle. If a restaurant serves you an undercooked hamburger, send it back for more cooking. Ask for a new bun and a clean plate, too.
• Don’t spread bacteria in your kitchen. Keep raw meat away from other foods. Wash your hands, cutting board, counter, dishes and silverware with hot soapy water after they touch raw meat, spinach, greens or sprouts. Never put cooked hamburgers or meat on the plate they were on before cooking.
• Drink only pasteurized milk, juice or cider. Frozen juice or juice sold in boxes and glass jars at room temperature has been pasteurized, although it may not say so on the label.
• Drink water from safe sources such as municipal water that has been treated with chlorine, wells that have been tested or bottled water. Do not swallow lake or pool water while swimming.
• Wash all fruits and vegetables prior to eating them. Do not swallow lake or pool water while swimming.
People with E. coli O157:H7 typically have diarrhea, which can be bloody and severe, and abdominal cramps two to eight days after infection. People with these symptoms should see their physicians.
Contact: Ohio Department of Health, Office of Public Affairs, 614-644-8562.