Federal health authorities are still looking for the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 14 people in six southern states and has been linked to one death.
Although officials have not named all six of the states where the illnesses have occurred, it has been confirmed that there have been outbreaks in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. A death was reported in New Orleans where a 21-month-old toddler died after fighting the infection for weeks at a local hospital, according to a CNN affiliate in the area.
Three people have been hospitalized. So far, Georgia has reported the most cases.
According to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the E. coli infections in the six states carry the same DNA fingerprint (E. coli 0145), indicating that the outbreak may be coming from the same source.
Foods such as meat and poultry are usually the source of E. coli, but fruits and vegetables can also carry the bacteria. Other sources include raw milk, water, and human or cattle feces.
Regardless of the source of the outbreak, health officials suggest the best way to avoid becoming ill is by washing hands frequently while preparing food and avoiding cross-contamination while preparing food by washing cutting boards, counters, and utensils with hot, soapy water.
Approximately 76 million Americans are sickened by contaminated food every year. If you have suffered injury or illness due to a food that has been recalled because of contamination, consulting with a Jacksonville food recall attorney at Farah & Farah can help you understand what legal options are available. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free consultation.