The Michigan Department of Community Health reported 29 E. coli cases statewide so far in June, well above the average of 10 cases for the entire month the past four years. Five people have been hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has become involved in the investigation.
Early laboratory reports, including DNA analysis, suggest that ground beef is a common source of the bacteria in several of the individuals who were affected. The ground beef recall of 13,275 pounds from New Jersey Dutch Meats on June 8 may well be related.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 1999 that 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 occur each year in the United States. Approximately 2,000 people are hospitalized, and 60 people die as a direct result of E. coli O157:H7 infections and complications. The majority of infections are thought to be foodborne-related, although E. coli O157:H7 accounts for less than 1% of all foodborne illness.