Following a recent cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases in the Edmonton area, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is advising people to take precautions to prevent the spread of the illness. There have been a reported 24 cases of E. coli in the Edmonton area in recent weeks, and AHS officials believe bean sprouts to be the cause. The department is still investigating the outbreak, but said there should be no further risk to the public. Consumers should thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before eating them, cook beef to at least 160 degrees F, wash any tools or kitchen surfaces that have touched raw meat, and wash their hands often with hot, soapy water, especially after touching raw meat. E. coli lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. There are many types of E. coli, and most of them are harmless, but some strains of E. coli can cause illness, predominantly abdominal cramping and diarrhea that may be bloody. Some strains of E. coli bacteria (such as  O157:H7) can cause more severe illness, including severe anemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death.