Twelve people in New Hampshire have fallen ill with the same strain of E-coli since June after eating ground beef at a number of different locations.
"The Division of Public Health Services is working with our federal partners to investigate the source of the ground beef that is causing people in New Hampshire to become ill," said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of Division of Public Health Services (DPHS).
‘The strain that infected 12 people in New Hampshire is Escherichia coli O157:H7 that causes diarrhea and vomiting. People have been advised to cook the meat thoroughly before consumption.’
"Ground beef is a known source of E-coli and it is important for people to avoid eating under-cooked ground beef whether at home or at a restaurant. Young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to severe illness with this infection."
The strain, known as Escherichia coli O157:H7 causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloody stool and vomiting.
Most of the people infected by this strain recover within five days to a week. But some cases can be serious and life-threatening, especially for young children and elderly due to possible complication is known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Health officials in New Hampshire have noted that the E-coli outbreak does not pose a risk for the residents.
Consumers should strictly follow food safety practices such as thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils should be kept clean, wash hands after touching raw meat to avoid cross-contamination in food preparation areas.
While cooking meat, a thermometer should be used to check if the meat is cooked. Ground beef should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160°F or 70˚C.
The DPHS is working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine the source of the contaminated ground beef.