Updated
April 13th, 2019

E. Coli Outbreak Reaches 96 People

No preventive vaccine for E. Coli is available today

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Five states have reported 96 people infected with the outbreak strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of April 9, 2019, at least 11 people have been hospitalized due to this E. coli outbreak, according to the CDC. 

This outbreak has affected residents in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia, with the highest number of cases (46) reported in Kentucky.

Illnesses started on dates from March 2, 2019, to March 26, 2019. 

“This investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections,” the CDC said. 

Most E. coli are harmless and are actually an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, the types of E. coli that can cause illness can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or people. 

But, if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection, which often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting, speak with a healthcare provider asap! 

Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out. 

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Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli infections might increase their risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a type of kidney failure.

And the benefits of antibiotic treatment has not been clearly demonstrated. 

Broadly protective vaccines against pathogenic E. coli are not available. 

Current work in vaccine development against enterotoxigenic E. coli. diarrhea involves vaccines that stimulate antitoxic (antitoxin) or anti-adhesion immunity or both by means of killed antigens or attenuated strains. 

During February 2017, a small, phase 1b clinical trial of 93 women reported the tetravalent E coli bioconjugate vaccine candidate was well tolerated and elicited functional antibody responses against all vaccine serotypes. 

Further, these researchers said in The Lancet that a Phase 2 study has been initiated to confirm these findings.

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