A 39-year-old Union County woman is recovering at home after being diagnosed with the E. coli bacteria, according to officials of the Union County Health Department. She is expected to make a full recovery.

A 39-year-old Union County woman is recovering at home after being diagnosed with the E. coli bacteria, according to officials of the Union County Health Department. She is expected to make a full recovery.

According to Union County Health Department public information officer Jason Orcena, this is the only known case in Union County. He said her case has been linked to the recent outbreak of E. coli illnesses across the United States.

"We don't know how she contracted it specifically," she said.

So far, there have been 18 cases in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin and Union counties since early June. Patients range in age from pre-school to their late 70s.

The Ohio Department of Health last week notified local health officials that a ground beef sample submitted by the Franklin County Board of Health has been linked to the human cases in Ohio.

According to a statement from Columbus Public Health, more than half of the central Ohio patients reported buying and eating ground beef from Kroger stores. The investigation is still under way and other stores may still be identified, CPH said.

E. coli causes bloody, severe diarrhea and abdominal cramping that can appear between two and eight days after infection.

Orcena says the focus right now is "prevention, prevention, prevention."

He said people need to wash their hands often, cook all meats thoroughly, scrub all fruits and vegetables and drink only water from safe sources.