The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 17 people in seven states over the past four weeks. So far, single cases have been reported in Missouri, Ohio, and Washington. It is still early in the investigation and no specific source of the infection has been identified so far.
After New Jersey, the second highest number of cases has been reported in Idaho with four.
The people who have been confirmed sickened in the outbreak fell ill in late March, according to the CDC.
No deaths have been reported from this outbreak, although one of the hospitalized patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. These figures were last updated as of April 9.
New Jersey has reported six cases, Idaho has reported four cases, Pennsylvania and CT have each reported two cases, and Washington, Missouri and OH have each reported one illness.
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"Some people may not be included in CDC's case count because no bacterial isolates are available for the DNA fingerprinting needed to link them to the outbreak".
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Health told New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday that there had been no additional cases of E. coli reported and that the investigation is ongoing. The outlet reports the state and a county health department were investigating cases that could be linked to area Panera locations.
"It can be very hard to determine where someone got sick", officials from the New Jersey Department of Health said in a statement. The CDC advises anyone with these symptoms to seek medical attention as E. coli infection is typically diagnosed via a stool sample.
Some methods for reducing the risk of infection include thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom or before cooking and eating, fully cooking meats to kill germs, and avoiding unpasteurized products like raw milk.
The particular strain of E. coli involved in this outbreak can cause bad stomach cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.