At least 156 people sick in E. coli outbreak from ground beef

CDC: At least 156 people in 10 states sickened by E. coli linked to ground beef

Investigators believe ground beef may be to blame after 156 people in 10 states contracted E. coli since March 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday, April 23.

The latest illness onset is April 7, and patients range in age from less than 1 year to 83.

So far, the outbreak is confined mostly to the eastern part of the country, with most cases occurring in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. Fifty percent of them are female.

The CDC said 20 people have been hospitalized in connection with the E. coli outbreak, but no deaths have been reported.

These items were produced on March 26, March 29, April 2, April 5, April 10, and April 12, 2019.

Numerous infected people had bought large trays or chubs of ground beef from grocery stores and used the meat to make dishes like spaghetti sauce and Sloppy Joes, the agency said. Meat impacted by the recall has the establishment number "EST".

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The ground beef in 24-pound packages was shipped in cardboard boxes marked "Ground Beef Puck" with "Use Thru" dates of 4/14/19, 4/17/19, 4/20/19, 4/23/19, 4/28/19, and 4/30/19, the USDA says. However, that beef has not conclusively been determined as the cause of the patients illnesses.

Grant Park Packing is recalling more than 50,000 pounds of raw ground beef due to possible E. coli contamination. However, officials say they're still testing to see whether the recalled beef is related to the outbreak.

'At this time, no common supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has been identified, ' the CDC said.

The agency notes that clinical labs don't typically test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E coli (STEC) types such as O103, because they are harder to identify.

Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker, who underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin, said, "This recall may be significant in the investigation of the E. coli O103 outbreak that has sickened so many people".

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