CDC warns deadly E. coli outbreak is causing severe illnesses

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the public about a serious new E. coli outbreak that hasn't yet been linked to any particular food product or water source. The agency says the outbreak is resulting in severe illnesses causing hospitalizations and, in one case, death. Cases have appeared in states across the US.

As of February 2, the CDC said that 16 illnesses tied to this outbreak have been reported across five states, including New York, Washington, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Of those 16 cases, 12 patients had data available. Nine of those 12 cases resulted in hospitalization, with three experiencing kidney failure. A case in Washington resulted in one death.

Though state and federal officials are investigating the outbreak, there hasn't yet been any single common link found between the cases pointing to a source. The CDC said in its most recent update that sick individuals are being interviewed about what they ate in the week before developing symptoms.

The E. coli strain behind this outbreak had previously caused infections and was linked to 'a variety of contaminated foods and water,' the agency said. Whether romaine lettuce is once again behind the outbreak hasn't yet been established, however.

At this time, the CDC is telling the public to be aware of E. coli symptoms, including fever, dehydration, extensive vomiting, and diarrhea. Regardless of whether the symptoms are mild or severe, the CDC wants you to report them to your local health department and provide information about which foods you ate before the illness started.