E. coli outbreak spreads to 7 states, hospitalizes 6

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that an E. coli outbreak has affected 17 people in seven different states across the United States.

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Officials say the bacteria has spread to New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Idaho, and Washington, and six people, aged 12 to 84, have been hospitalized since the start of the outbreak.

The source of the outbreak is unknown. However, the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service are investigating.

"State and local public health officials are interviewing ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures in the week before their illness started," the CDC said in a release.

While officials are not recommending people avoid particular foods, grocery stores or restaurants, they are advising folks to follow general practices to prevent E. coli infection. Washing your hands, cooking meats thoroughly and rinsing your vegetables and fruits can all reduce your chances of getting sick.

People who are infected may experience severe stomach cramps, vomiting and fever. Most patients recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and lead to kidney failure.

Follow the updates here.

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