E. coli outbreak in 10 states sickens 196 people, hospitalizes 28, health officials say

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(FOX News) -- The E. coli outbreak connected to ground beef has now sickened 196 people across 10 states — a 19-person increase since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported numbers last month.

Of those sickened, 28 people have been hospitalized due to the outbreak, which health officials said Monday has been linked to "many sources."

At least two companies have recalled ground beef products, but officials warn that contaminated food could still be in stores.

Grant Park Packing in Franklin Park, Ill., recalled 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 24, the CDC said. On April 23, Colorado Premium Foods in Carrollton, Ga., recalled 113,424 pounds of the product.

The outbreak has affected residents in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee. At least 49 people were reported as sick in Georgia, while another 69 people have been reported sick in Kentucky.

E. coli are bacteria found in both human and animal intestines.

While most strains are harmless, some are pathogenic and can cause illness, which typically includes stomach cramps and diarrhea, according to the CDC. The bacteria can be transmitted through contaminated water or food and sometimes through contact with other people and animals.

While most people recover from E. coli after a few days, some cases can be life-threatening. This is especially true for pregnant women, newborns, older or elderly adults and those with weakened immune systems.

Health officials recommend thorough hand-washing, washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cross-contamination in food preparation areas as ways to prevent E. coli illness.

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