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Final CDC update on the outbreak of E. coli

The CDC has released a final update on the outbreak of E. coli. It also has outlined some general steps to prevent infection with E. coli.

  • As of January 9, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.
  • Contaminated lettuce that made people sick in this outbreak should no longer be available.
  • Three additional cases were reported since the last update on December 13, 2018. This brings the total number to 62 cases from 16 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Twenty-five people were hospitalized, including two people who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths were reported.
  • Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 7, 2018, to December 4, 2018.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada identified ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in Canada.
  • Romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California was the likely source of the outbreak.
  • The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, investigated farms and cooling facilities in California that were identified in traceback. CDC identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in sediment collected within an agricultural water reservoir on an Adam Bros, Inc. farm in Santa Barbara County, which was identified in the traceback investigation.
  • FDA is continuing to investigate to learn more about how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the agricultural water reservoir and ways romaine lettuce from the farm could have been contaminated, and whether there are other sources of the outbreak.

General E. coli Prevention:

  • Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Use separate cutting boards for fruits and vegetables and for raw meats, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
  • Use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw foods.
    Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in running water before eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.

You can learn more about E. coli and food safety here.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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