Health officials probe E. coli outbreak in 7 states

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Health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli that has hit seven states over the past four weeks.

Seventeen people have fallen ill so far and six of them have been hospitalized, according to CNN.

“The investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

So far, the outbreak has affected New Jersey, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Washington, Missouri and Ohio. Six of the infected people are from New Jersey and four are from Idaho.

Pennsylvania and Connecticut reported two cases and the other states have all reported one, CNN said.

The outbreak began in late March. One of the infected people developed a side effect of E. coli called hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, according to NBC New York.

E. coli is often traced back to undercooked meat or tainted vegetables.

The particular strain of E. coli involved in this outbreak can cause bad stomach cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms will generally start two to eight days after ingesting the bacteria and last five to 10 days, according to Forbes.

Those most at risk from E. coli are the very young, very old and individuals with compromised immune systems, according to CNN.

No deaths have been reported from the current outbreak, CNN said.

“State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures in the week before their illness started,” the CDC said, according to CNN.

The Food and Drug Administration is also investigating.

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