Minnesota was hard hit by a multistate E.coli outbreak linked to Pizza Ranch restaurants. Five of 13 people sickened are from Minnesota where health officials say those sickened developed E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating at Pizza Ranch between December 6, 2015 and January 16, 2016.
Dough used to make desserts is the suspected source of the outbreak. Pizza Ranch has discontinued using the dough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that the outbreak is over as the most recent illness was reported on February 9.
Illnesses were reported from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Minnesota is the only state where multiple cases were reported.
Two children in Kansas and Nebraska were hospitalized after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). They are recovering. HUS, a complication of E. coli infections that most often affects children under 10, causes kidney failure, seizure, stroke, coma and death.
“Unfortunately, young children are some of the most vulnerable to foodborne illness. E. coli can hit children particularly hard,” said Elliot Olsen, an attorney with the national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen who is representing a 7-year-old from Kansas who is part of the outbreak. PritzkerOlsen underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin.
E. coli symptoms usually develop within two to five days of exposure but can appear within 24 hours or take as long as 10 days to develop. They include stomach cramps and diarrhea, that is sometimes bloody. Sometimes these symptoms, which last about a week, are accompanied by a low-grade fever.
About 15 percent of children with E. coli infections will develop HUS, which causes blood cells to become misshapen and to die prematurely, clogging the kidneys. Kidney failure, heart attack, seizure and stroke are all possible complications of HUS. Children under 10 are at most at risk for HUS because their immune systems have not fully developed. For about 12 percent of children, HUS is fatal.
This is not the first time dough contaminated with E. coli has been linked to an outbreak. In 2009, a 30-state E.coli outbreak linked to Nestle Tollhouse Cookie dough sickened 72 people. Flour was suspected as the source of contamination in the dough. Thirty-four people were hospitalized, 10 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Pizza Ranch does business in 13 states: Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.