Mystery E. coli outbreak expands. 96 people sickened in 5 states, CDC says

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More people are sick from a multistate outbreak of E. coli from an unknown source, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. The total number of people infected is now 96. That’s 24 more than the agency initially reported on Friday.

Symptoms of E. coli, which usually begin about three or four days after consuming the bacteria, can include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Eleven people involved in the mysterious outbreak have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. People started becoming ill March 2. The people with the most recently reported illnesses began experiencing symptoms on March 26. The patients range in age from 1 to 81 years old. Additional illnesses tied to this outbreak may still be reported, the CDC said.

The states reporting cases of E. coli illness linked to this outbreak are Georgia (17 patients), Kentucky (46), Ohio (5), Tennessee (26) and Virginia (2).

Federal health officials have not identified a food item, grocery store or restaurant chain as the source of these infections. The CDC, state health departments, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the US Food and Drug Administration are investigating the outbreak.

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