In April, Positively Osceola shared the news that there was an E.colo outbreak from tainted ground beef that expanded to 10 states including Florida since that report the E. coli outbreak connected to ground beef has now sickened 196 people across those 10 states. This is a 19-person increase since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported numbers last month.

Of those 196 people sickened, 28 have been hospitalized due to the outbreak, which health officials said Monday has been linked to “many sources.”

At least two companies have recalled ground beef products, but officials warn that contaminated food could still be in stores.

Grant Park Packing in Franklin Park, Ill., recalled 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 24, the CDC said.

  • Recalled products were sold in 40-lb. bulk cardboard boxes of “North Star Imports & Sales, LLC. 100% GROUND BEEF BULK 80% LEAN/ 20% FAT” marked “FOR INSTITUTIONAL USE ONLY” with lot code GP.1051.18 and pack dates 10/30/2018, 10/31/2018, and 11/01/2018.
  • Recalled products are labeled with establishment number “EST. 21781” inside the USDA mark of inspection on the boxes.

On April 23, Colorado Premium Foods in Carrollton, Ga., recalled 113,424 pounds of the product.

  • Recalled products were sold in two 24-lb. vacuum-packed packages in cardboard boxes containing raw “GROUND BEEF PUCK” with “Use Thru” dates of 4/14/19, 4/17/19, 4/20/19, 4/23/19, 4/28/19, and 4/30/19.
  • Recalled products are labeled with establishment number “EST. 51308” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The outbreak has affected residents Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia, and Tennessee. At least 49 people were reported as sick in Georgia, while another 69 people have been reported sick in Kentucky and in Florida 5 people have been reported sick.

E. coli are bacteria found in both human and animal intestines and while most strains are harmless, some are pathogenic and can cause illness. E. coli infection symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Symptoms begin, on average, three to four days after ingesting the bacteria according to the CDC. E. coli bacteria can be transmitted through contaminated water or food and sometimes through contact with other people and animals.

While most people recover from E. coli after a few days, some cases can be life-threatening. This is especially true for pregnant women, newborns, older or elderly adults and those with weakened immune systems.

Health officials recommend thorough hand-washing, washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cross-contamination in food preparation areas as ways to prevent E. coli illness. Consumers and restaurants should always handle and cook ground beef safely to avoid foodborne illness. Thoroughly cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill germs. Cook casseroles containing ground beef to 165°F. Never eat, serve, or sell recalled ground beef.

Positively Osceola will continue to report on the E. coli outbreak once the CDC provides more updates as additional information becomes available.