MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Federal Government is trying to contain a deadly outbreak of E. Coli, centered here in the southeast U.S.
The symptoms may not arise for a few days, but one of the tell-tale signs of an E. Coli infection is bloody diarrhea.
Even though the Centers for Disease Control has not discovered where the rare strain of E. Coli originated, experts say there's no cause to worry.
“It's usually a food borne illness and if you looked at sources it's usually undercooked meat and produce that's not washed properly,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld.
Threlkeld specializes in infectious diseases at Baptist Memorial Hospital. While he's not worrying, he and others are concerned.
Although the vast majority of people sickened by the strain will recover in a week, the infection could be much more dangerous for the elderly and the young.
“The scary thing is something under than ten percent of the people with this infection could go on to a much more serious problem called Hemolytic uremic syndrome and that's a blood and kidney problem,” Dr. Threlkeld said.
That could cause kidney failure and require dialysis. Almost all of the illnesses have taken place in the South. Neither Mississippi nor Arkansas have had any E. Coli infections.
The only reported case of the outbreak in Tennessee was in Chattanooga. The lone victim did not require hospitalization.
With so many people cooking on the grill, Dr. Threlkeld is warning them to take precautions.
“The key is to cook your hamburgers fairly well to a temperature between 155 to 160 degrees on the thermometer and you know you've killed the germ anyway and you're safe,” Dr.Threlkeld said.