Why the next deadly E. coli outbreak could happen in your town

Why the next deadly E. coli outbreak could happen in your town

Chipotle had to shut down 43 restaurants after an E. coli outbreak ... and if you don't think it can happen to you, you're wrong.

Chipotle is finally opening 43 restaurants it had shuttered after an E. coli outbreak suddenly sickened 45 people without warning, and the next outbreak could strike just about anywhere.

Most people don’t realize just how common outbreaks of foodborne illnesses are, and the public is dangerously unprepared to deal with them, according to an Associated Press report.

In reality, there are a huge volume of cases in the United States each year — about 48 million. About 105,000 people end up going to the hospital because of a foodborne illness like E. coli, and 2,000 people die from them, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means you have close to a 15 percent chance of catching a foodborne illness every single year.

While many of the cases are from illnesses contract from home, often due to poor cooking practices or cross contamination, a lot of them happen at restaurants too, as can be seen by the near constant reports of outbreaks throughout the year at various restaurant chains or grocery stores.

A lot of these outbreaks involve the E. coli bacteria, which has potentially deadly strains that, even if it doesn’t kill you, causes a terrible ailment that includes diarrhea, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and a host of other medical problems.

The best way to avoid coming down with a foodborne illness is to watch your hands thoroughly before making or eating food, avoid undercooked meats, be careful not to cross contaminate, and wash produce thoroughly.

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