November 28, 2020

CDC Announces Two Mystery E. coli Outbreaks; Leafy Greens?

Tonight the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced two mystery E. coli outbreaks that may be linked to leafy greens that have sickened 44 people and hospitalized 18; three have developed HUS and one person has died.

CDC Announces Two Mystery E. coli Outbreaks; Leafy Greens?

In the first outbreak, 21 people in 8 states are ill. Eight people have been hospitalized, and one person who lived in Michigan has died.

Illness onset dates range from June 6, 2020 to October 5, 2020. The patient age range is from 2 to 75 years. Of 16 people who gave information to investigators, eight were hospitalized. One person developed HUS.

The patient case count by state is: California (7), Florida (1), Illinois (1), Michigan (2), New Jersey (1), Ohio (7), Utah (1), and Wisconsin (1).

The strain of E. coli O157:H7 causing illness in this outbreak has caused other outbreaks, including one that was linked to romaine lettuce in 2018. But the government is not linking any specific food to this outbreak at this time.

The second outbreak, where patients told investigators they ate leafy greens before getting sick, has sickened 23 people in 12 states. Ten people have been hospitalized. A specific food item hasn’t yet been identified as the culprit, but of 13 people interviewed, all ate various types of leafy greens, including iceberg lettuce (9), romaine (8), mixed bag lettuce (6) and spinach (9) before getting sick.

The patient case count by state in this outbreak is: California (2), Illinois (1), Kansas (4), Michigan (2), Missouri (2), North Dakota (4), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee (1), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Illness onset dates range from August 17, 2020 to October 8, 2020. The patient age range is from 5 to 81 years. Of 15 people who gave information to investigators, 10 were hospitalized, including two who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.

And this outbreak is caused by the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 the caused an outbreak linked to romaine lettuce in 2019. But food linked to the previous outbreak alone isn’t enough to prove a link in another outbreak of the same strain. The CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid any particular food at this time.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include a mild fever, nausea, vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody. Symptoms of HUS include little urine output, lethargy, easy bruising, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. If you or anyone you know has been sick with these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of one of these two mystery E. coli outbreaks.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating leafy greens or romaine, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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