July 17, 2024

Kentucky E. coli O103 Outbreak: History of Fast Food Outbreaks

The Kentucky E. coli O103 outbreak that is linked to fast food and has sickened about 25 people is unusual in that that specific strain of E. coli bacteria doesn’t usually cause outbreaks in the U.S. And doctors typically do not test for this pathogen because it is rare.

But fast food places are no stranger to outbreaks. Here’s a brief history of these events.

Kentucky E. coli O103 Fast Food Outbreak

In 2012, a Salmonella Stanley outbreak that awaits associated with a McDonald’s restaurant on South Main Street in Bloomington, Illinois sickened 12 people. In that outbreak officials suspected that an ill restaurant employee may have transmitted the pathogen to customers.

In 2015, the fifth-largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of the year was an E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants. At least 52 people were sickened and 20 were hospitalized.

In 2015, an E. coli O121 outbreak linked to Evergreen raw clover sports served at Jimmy John’s restaurants sickened at least 19 people.

In 2016, two E. coli O26 outbreaks linked to Chipotle restaurants sickened at least 115 people. No definitive source of the pathogen was found by investigators.

In 2017, a Salmonella outbreak in Bemidji, Minnesota was associated with two Burger King restaurants in that city. At least 27 people were sickened, and four probable cases were identified.

In late 2017 and early 2018, a Salmonella Montevideo outbreak linked to Jimmy John’s raw sprouts sickened at least 10 people in 3 states.

In 2018, a cyclospora outbreak that sickened at least 511 people was linked to salads purchased from McDonald’s. A romaine lettuce and carrot mix that was used to make those salads, distributed by Caito Foods and Fresh Express, was contaminated with the pathogen.

Also in 2018, an outbreak of “undetermined nature” was associated with the Jamestown, New York McDonald’s restaurant on North Main Street Extension. At least 22 people were sickened with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has not released the name of the fast food restaurants that may be associated with the current E. coli O103 outbreak. All the notice stated is that 19 teenagers and children with a history of extensive fast food exposures are sick with lab-confirmed cases.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include nausea, severe abdominal and stomach cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody and/or watery. Symptoms begin two to eight days after exposure. If you have been experiencing these symptoms and live in Central Kentucky, see your doctor.

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