The number of illnesses reported from an E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has continued to grow in recent weeks and spread to other states, health officials announced Tuesday.
In total, the Centers for Disease Control said its now confirmed 156 people in 10 different states have been infected with this particular outbreak strain.
While 20 people have been hospitalized, there have been no deaths. Health officials noted that states are investigating additional illnesses that might be a part of this outbreak.
According to the CDC, preliminary epidemiological information suggested that ground beef is the source of this outbreak and the majority of those who have gotten sick reported eating ground beef. While some said they got ground beef from grocery stores, others said they had it at a restaurant.
The outbreak investigation noted that many bought large amounts of ground beef from grocery stores and used it for dishes like spaghetti sauce and sloppy joes.
However, officials have yet to identify a common supplier, distributor or brand.
The CDC is reminding consumers to handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly to avoid food borne illnesses.
The majority of the cases from this outbreak have been in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. As of April 23, 65 people have been infected in Kentucky, 41 in Tennessee and 33 in Georgia.
But cases linked to this E. coli outbreak have also been confirmed in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio and Virginia.
The CDC said the illnesses from this outbreak started on dates ranging from March 1 to April 7 and the people who were infected range in age from just one year old to 83 years old.
Number of people infected in the E. coli outbreak by state (CDC data, as of April 23)
Kentucky - 65
Tennessee - 41
Georgia - 33
Ohio - 8
Florida - 3
Virginia - 2
Illinois - 1
Indiana - 1
Minnesota - 1
Mississippi - 1