The country’s top health detectives are scrambling to find the source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 11 people, and caused the death of a young girl in New Orleans.
Although the deadly strain of E. coli has not yet been detected in Texas, Dr. Bryan Alsip, chief medical officer for University Health System, said it’s wise for residents to take precautions, particularly in the way they prepare and cook meat.
“If you’re cooking meat, you want to make sure you cook it thoroughly. Using color is not a good way to do it. It’s recommended you use a thermometer and get it to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Alsip.
Alsip said proper hand-washing is also a good deterrent, as well as thoroughly washing vegetables purchased at the grocery store.
The strain of E. coli in question is known by health experts as 0145. Alsip said it is a relatively new strain which doctors don’t know much about, and said finding a source could prove difficult.
“It’s very hard to do, particularly when you have a multi-state investigation. Sometimes you never find the ultimate source,” said Alsip.
Alsip said symptoms of E. coli typically include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, but in sever cases, people can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause kidney failure.