Michigan E. coli Outbreak

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

What began as a few cases of E. coli on Michigan State's campus last week has turned into a statewide E. coli outbreak.

"We have a total of 24 same genetic cases," says Dr. Greg Holzman of the Michigan Department of Community Health. "They all point to a common food source, but we do not know what it is at this time."

Take a look here: the cases span all over the state, from the East Lansing campus to the Lenawee County Jail. Officials say the people picked up the potentially fatal 0157:H7 strain between September 8th and 19th.

Confirmed Michigan E. Coli Cases

7- MSU
5- Lenawee County Jail
3- U of M
3- Macomb County
2- Wayne County
2- Kent County
1- St. Clair County
1- Oakland County

"This has become a statewide issue," Dr. Holzman says.

Eight out of the nine people hospitalized for E. coli symptoms have been students here at MSU. And though there haven't been any new cases this week in Ingham County, doctors say we're not out of the woods just yet.

"We're still watching it very aggressively, we're calling Olin Health Center every day asking if they've seen people with bloody diarrhea," says Dr. Dean Sienko, director of the Ingham County Health Department.

But while cases in Ingham County may be tapering off, there's worry about where else it will pop up in Michigan. Already, Dr. Sienko says Michigan's cases are a genetic match to E. coli in New York, Oregon, Ohio and Illinois.

But they still don't know where it's coming from.

"One of the biggest challenges is food history," Dr. Sienko says. "A lot of reports we get say 'I don't remember what I ate,' so it makes it hard to wrap your arms around what the source could be."

But as people wait for the all-clear, there's hope the 24 cases don't continue to grow across the state.

There's speculation the food came from a commercial distributor, so MSU says, as a precaution, they've removed frozen turkey and particular produce items from their cafeteria for the time being.

In the meantime, health officials say continue to wash your hands and cook meat thoroughly.

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