September 18, 2021

Second Mystery E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Over After Sickening 40

The second mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, also known as Unknown Source 2, which has been linked to leafy greens, is now over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the number six multistate outbreak of 2020, with 40 people sick in 19 states. Unfortunately, a specific type or brand of leafy greens was not identified as the source of this outbreak.

Second Mystery E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Over After Sickening 40

This outbreak is different from the other two mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that occurred at the same time: Unknown Source 1 which was the number 8 outbreak of 2020, and Unknown Source 3 which was the number 9 outbreak of 2020.

The patient case count by state is: Arizona (2), California (6), Illinois (2), Indiana (1), Kansas (4), Michigan (3), Minnesota (2), Missouri (3), North Dakota (4), Ohio (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), Tennessee (2), Texas (1), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (1).  Illness onset dates ranged from August 10, 2020 to October 31, 2020. Twenty people were hospitalized because they were so sick, and four developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence found that leafy greens were the likely source of this outbreak. But investigators cold not identify a specific type or brand of leafy greens because those sickened said they ate a variety of greens and because different leafy greens are grown, harvested, and processed together.

Of 23 ill people who were interviewed, 22 said they ate or maybe ate a variety of leafy greens including spinach (16), and romaine lettuce (15). The FDA completed traceback for several types of leafy greens that patients said they ate, and several farms were investigated, but no single ranch was a common source of the greens.

Environmental samples were collected on farms of interest. The FDA is investigating these samples and continuing their investigations to try to identify the root cause of this outbreak. This second mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was declared over on December 22, 2020.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

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

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