The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has found 16 cases of a similar type of E.coli Bacteria. The age of the infected people ranges from 3 to 73 years of age and that 75% of them are children up to the age of 18 years.
The CDC further reported that all the 26 infected people are women, 7 of them had to be hospitalized, and that one of the hospitalized women had hemolytic uremic syndrome which is a type of kidney disease.
E.Coli Outbreak In The United States
All the illnesses were detected between February and June 2021. Eight of the infected people were interviewed for any possible trends in identifying the possible cause of infection and 6 of them said they had tasted cake batter made from a cake mix. Raw cake batter tastes delicious and a lot of people eat the batter and even scrape off batter from bowls before the batter goes into an oven for baking the cake. CDC is asking people not to eat or even sample raw cake batter.
After detecting the common tendency of most of the infected people who have tasted raw cake batter, the CDC investigated further but found that the people had bought different brands of cake mix. The CDC also reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also entered the investigation and is investigating purchase records in the locations where people fell sick, in an attempt to determine if all the cake mix was bought from a common area or from a common brand or manufacturer.
The investigators then conducted DNA fingerprinting tests on the E.coli bacteria and found that the bacteria from all the samples were genetically related. The CDC concluded that the people got infected from the same food source.
Medical authorities are suspecting that the number of cases of infection is likely to be much higher as a lot of infected people recover without treatment or medication and such cases are thus not even reported.
E.coli is a bacterial disease that causes acute diarrhea and stomach cramps. E.coli is spread by animal-human fecal matter in food and is further spread by animal and human contact. Several studies have been conducted by the CDC since 1982 in order to identify the most source of outbreaks in the United States, evaluate epidemiologic factors linked to the most severe outbreaks of E.coli, and identify the most common food source due to food contamination being the major cause.
E.Coli causes about 73000 infections in the United States every year. Analyses and studies of all the cases of E.coli reported to the CDC between 1982-2002 revealed that 52% of the cases were foodborne, 9% waterborne, 14% by the person to person contact, and 3% by animal contact. Further analysis of the food-borne infections revealed them to be from ground beef.
Another study conducted by the CDC between the period 2003-2012 found that the E.coli or Escherichia Coli 0157 produces the Shiga toxin which mostly causes acute diarrhea with severe stomach cramps with vomiting and extreme cases can lead to the hemolytic uremic syndrome. Treatment of E.coli costs the United States more than $400 million each year.
The CDC studies revealed many interesting findings. Though ground beef was found to be the most common cause, there was a shift now being observed. The number of outbreaks from 2008-2012 was higher than the period from 2003 to 2007. Though the average number of cases due to food-borne causes did not change, cases from dairy products and fruits doubled in comparison to ground beef.
These recent results appear to match with the latest findings of cake batter as the root cause. The FDA needs to impose further checks and controls on contaminated food if E.Coli is to be effectively eliminated in the United States.