Food Safety
TECH FLASH

Source of E. coli O145 infection still a mystery

E. coli photomicrograph
Magnified 1250x, this fluorescent antibody, stained photomicrograph reveals the presence of E. coli O157:H7. Source: CDC.

Reported earlier in Tech Flash, the E. coli O145 outbreak may have run its course as no further infections have been reported since the middle of May. Since the source of the outbreak infection is still unknown, no recalls have been made by FDA or USDA’s FSIS.

According to a CDC statement dated June 22, 2012 (last update), a total of 15 people have been infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O145 (E. coli O145), which was identified in six states. As of June 22, one death and four hospitalizations had been reported. The states reporting infections include Alabama (two infections), California (one), Florida (one), Georgia (five), Louisiana (five) and Tennessee (one).

CDC reports that, based on interviews conducted, a source of these infections has not been found. Dates for the patients’ onset of illness range from April 15, 2012 to May 12, 2012. CDC says it has been six weeks since the last illness was reported, indicating the outbreak could be over.

This outbreak comes on the heels of USDA’s FSIS making the inspection of six additional strains of E. coli (of which O145 is one) in raw beef trim mandatory as of the first Monday in June.

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