As of April 25, 2019, 177 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from 10 states. CDC is reporting the 177 illnesses that the PulseNet laboratory network has confirmed are part of this outbreak. States are investigating additional illnesses that might be a part of this outbreak.
Illnesses started on dates from March 1, 2019, to April 14, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 84 years, with a median age of 18. Fifty-one percent are female. Of 143 people with information available, 21 (15%) have been hospitalized. No deaths and no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome have been reported.
Illnesses that occurred after March 29, 2019, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to three weeks.
This multistate investigation began on March 28, 2019, when officials in Kentucky and Georgia notified CDC of this outbreak. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that ground beef is the likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 125 people interviewed, 100 (80%) reported eating ground beef. This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey pdf icon[PDF – 787 KB] of healthy people. Ill people bought or ate ground beef from several different grocery stores and restaurants. Many ill people bought large trays or chubs of ground beef from grocery stores and used the meat to make dishes like spaghetti sauce and sloppy joe.
Officials at USDA-FSIS, in Kentucky, and in Tennessee collected ground beef from a restaurant and an institution where ill people reported eating. Laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 in the ground beef collected in Tennessee. E. coli O103 was identified in the ground beef collected in Kentucky, but laboratory results are pending to determine if it is closely related to the E. coli O103 identified in ill people.
Two companies recalled raw ground beef products because they may be contaminated with E. coli. Grant Park Packing in Franklin Park, Ill., recalled approximately 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 24, 2019. K2D Foods, doing business as Colorado Premium Foods, in Carrollton, Ga., recalled approximately 113,424 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 23, 2019. These products were sold to restaurants and institutions.
USDA-FSIS and state regulatory officials continue to collect products for testing and continue their traceback investigations to determine the source of ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurants where ill people ate. At this time, no common supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has been identified that could account for the whole outbreak.