2012 E. coli O145 Infections – Advice to Consumers

Multistate Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145 Infections (Final Update)

Posted July 20, 2012 3:30 PM ET

This particular outbreak appears to be over. However, E. coli is still an important cause of human illness in the United States. More information about E. coli, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection, can be found on the CDC E. coli Web Page.

  • No source was identified for this outbreak, and therefore CDC has no specific consumer advice. Recommendations for protecting against STEC infections are provided below. 
  • Practice proper hygiene, especially good hand washing
    • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food. Wash your hands after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard).
    • Always wash your hands before preparing and feeding bottles or foods to  your infant, before touching your infant’s mouth, and before touching pacifiers or other things that go into your infant’s mouth.
    • If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.
  • It is also important to keep all objects that enter infants’ mouths (such as pacifiers and teethers) clean.
  • Know your risk for food poisoning.  People at higher-risk for foodborne illness are pregnant women and newborns, children, older adults and those with weak immune systems.
  • Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160°F/70˚C. It’s best to use a thermometer, as color is not a very reliable indicator of how thoroughly meat has been cooked.
  • Avoid consuming raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices (like fresh apple cider).
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming or playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.
  • Prevent cross-contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat. 
  • Please see the FoodSafety.gov E.coli web site for information on what you can to prevent from getting infected with STEC.
  • Persons who think they might be ill with STEC should consult their healthcare providers.