Nine people have been hospitalized as a result of an E. coli outbreak in Michigan and Ohio.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared the news on Wednesday, revealing that there has been a total of 29 illnesses reported across the two midwestern states.
"A food has not yet been identified as the source of this fast-moving outbreak," the CDC said. "So far, illnesses have only been reported from Michigan and Ohio."
In the meantime, they advise, "To prevent getting sick from E. coli, follow these four steps when handling or preparing food: clean, separate, cook and chill."
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday that they were "investigating a recent increase in the number of illnesses related to E. coli bacteria."
Getty E. coli bacteria
"MDHHS had received reports of 98 cases of E. coli infection in August, compared to 20 cases reported during the same time period in 2021," they said in a release. "The current investigation is in the early stages. Laboratory results have linked some of these cases to each other."
In a Wednesday tweet, the Ohio Department of Health wrote, "E.coli illnesses have recently been reported in Ohio and Michigan. While the source of the outbreak hasn't been identified, it's always good to keep #foodsafety in mind."
The latter group went on to also note the "clean, separate, cook, chill" rule, and advised the public to wash their hands often, wash produce thoroughly under running water and use a food thermometer.
"While reports of E. coli illness typically increase during the warmer summer months, this significant jump in cases is alarming," Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive, said in their news release. "This is a reminder to make sure to follow best practices when it comes to hand hygiene and food handling to prevent these kinds of foodborne illness."
According to the CDC, while most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can cause illnesses and symptoms that range from diarrhea, respiratory illness, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, severe stomach cramps, vomiting, fever and more.
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Bagdasarian added in the release, "If you are experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection like cramping and diarrhea (or gastrointestinal distress), especially if they are severe, make sure to let your health care provider know."
The latest outbreak comes almost four months after the company Lakeside Refrigerated Services recalled more than 120,000 pounds of ground beef due to concerns that the products might be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
According to the USDA, the products, which were sold under the brands names Thomas Farms, Nature's Reserve, and Marketside Butcher, were produced between Feb. 1 to April 8 and shipped to stores around the country.