Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli 103 Infections

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed 17 cases of E. coli O103 infection in Georgia. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the number of cases is expected to increase. These illnesses are part of a multistate E. coli outbreak sickening nearly 100 people in five states. There are no reports of death in the outbreak.

A specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of these infections.

People usually get sick from E. coli O103 an average of 3-4 days after swallowing the germ. Symptoms of E. coli O103 include diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing complications from E. coli infection.

CDC, several states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 infections. This investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections.

Highlights of the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 Outbreak:

Ways to prevent E. coli infection include:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats properly.
  • Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Cook steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and let rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
  • Keep raw meats separate from foods that won’t be cooked before eating.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with soap after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and other dairy products, and unpasteurized juice.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

For more information about E. coli O103 log on to https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/index.html.

For more information about safe food handling and preparation log on to https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/clean/index.html.