E.coli O145 infections hits Georgia, other southern states

E. coli

Health officials in four southern states are trying to find the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 11 people so far.

The outbreak also has claimed the life of a 21-month-old girl in New Orleans, where two other people also were sickened by the same strain of E. coli O145. Cases also have been confirmed in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, ABC News reports.

The largest group of confirmed cases – five – is in Atlanta, Ga.

Four out of the five Georgia cases involve women, aged 18 to 25. The E.coli symptoms were reported between April 15 and 28, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Although the cases are similar, investigators have said no connection has officially been made between them, according to the Journal-Constitution.

However, officials do believe the cases are linked, ABC News reports.

Investigators are working to find the source of the outbreak, but a food source is suspected, according to ABC News.

The outbreak comes after the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) began testing for six new strains of E. coli, including O145, Monday. The new rules, which affect six strains of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), classify the pathogens as adulterants.

According to the new testing requirements, if raw beef trimmings and nonintact beef products are found to be positive for one of these six strains (O145, O26, O45, O103, O111 and O121) the product will be considered unfit for human consumption.

Strict requirements already existed for E. coli O157:H7, the strain associated with most serious cases of E. coli illness.

For a round up of reports regarding the outbreak, see below:

E. coli hits 11 as officials race against the clock ABC News

Georgia, CDC probe E. coli outbreak – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Multistate E. coli O145 outbreak confirmed in Southern U.S. – Food Safety News

Sources remain mysteries in two separate E. coli deaths – Food Safety News

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