Cook ground beef thoroughly before eating, the agency says.

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An E. coli outbreak affecting 109 people in six states has been traced back to ground beef as the likely source, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

“A total of 109 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from six states,” the CDC said in a statement released on Friday. “Preliminary epidemiologic information suggests that ground beef is the source of this outbreak. Ill people in this outbreak report eating ground beef at home and in restaurants.”

This colorized 2006 scanning electron microscope image shows E. coli bacteria of the O157:H7 strain that produces a powerful toxin which can cause illness.(Janice Haney Carr/CDC via AP, FILE) This colorized 2006 scanning electron microscope image shows E. coli bacteria of the O157:H7 strain that produces a powerful toxin which can cause illness.

No brand or common supplier has yet been identified for distributing the tainted beef yet. It is an ongoing investigation.

“Seventeen people have been hospitalized. No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, have been reported. No deaths have been reported,” the CDC said.

This E. coli investigation began on March 28, after authorities in Kentucky and Georgia reported infections to the CDC.

The CDC is not advising the public to avoid ground beef, and it didn’t issue a recall notice or advise retailers to stop serving or selling ground beef. That said, the agency is advising home cooks and restaurants to cook the beef thoroughly as a precaution and to wash hands and any other objects or surfaces that come into contact with raw ground beef with soap and hot water.

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