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CDC is investigating an E. coli outbreak affecting 13 states, including Pennsylvania

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e. coli bacteria

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and several states are investigating an outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 infections affecting 13 states — including one in Pennsylvania.

Seventeen illnesses, which occurred between Nov. 15 and Dec. 8, 2017, were reported in all. Three occurred in California, two in Connecticut, and one each in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

The Public Health Agency of Canada also is investigating an outbreak of STEC O157:H7 infections in several provinces, according to a release from the CDC.

Genome sequencing is being performed on bacteria samples making people sick in the United States to provide information on whether the illnesses are related to those that occurred in Canada. Preliminary results show that the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically — which means the sick people are more likely to share a common source of infection, the CDC says.

The Public Health Agency of Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak there, according to the CDC. In the U.S., state and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illnesses began. The CDC is still collection information to determine whether there is a common food item among the sick people, including leafy greens and romaine lettuce.

Because it has not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether U.S. residents should avoid a particular food.

This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available.