E. coli outbreak sickens more than 150, including in Minnesota; ground beef recalled

Officials are still working to determine the exact source of the infections.
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An E. coli outbreak has sickened 156 people, sending 20 of them to the hospital, and federal officials are working to determine the source of the bacteria.

According to the CDC, the Escherichia coli O103 infections in this outbreak have popped up in 10 different states. Nobody had died, nor have there been any reports of related kidney failure. There has been one reported case in Minnesota, while Kentucky has seen 65.

But numbers could climb. It generally takes 2-3 weeks for an E. coli-caused illness to get reported, so the CDC says any infections after March 26 probably aren't reported yet.

The CDC is working with the USDA right now to figure out the source of the outbreak.

Early signs are pointing to ground beef as the culprit, as the ill people told investigators they'd eaten ground beef at home and in restaurants.

But as of April 23, officials haven't found a common supplier, distributor, or brand linking the cases together.

One significant recall was just issued, however.

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The USDA says K2D Foods is recalling more than 113,000 pounds of its ground beef because it may be contaminated with E. coli O103. There haven't been any infections clearly tied to this batch, and none of it was sold at grocery stores - all of it was sent to distributors in Georgia and Florida, which in turn offered it to restaurants.

Because officials haven't pinpointed a source for this outbreak, more recalls may be coming.

Right now, however, the CDC and USDA are not suggesting people avoid eating ground beef. Instead, they're reminding people to "handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly." That includes using a thermometer to check the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit during cooking.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include  severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and vomiting. It can also lead to kidney failure. Symptoms generally start showing 3-4 days after the bacteria is ingested.

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