November 23, 2020

Secret E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Sickens 21, Hospitalizes 8, Kills 1

A secret E. coli O157:H7 outbreak has sickened 21 people, hospitalized 8, and killed one person living in Michigan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This outbreak was announced late last night. It is one of two outbreaks announced at the same time that may have connections to leafy greens.

Secret E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Sickens 21, Kills 1

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). Illness onset dates range from June 6, 2020 to October 5, 2020. The patient age range is from 2 to 75 years. Fifty percent of ill persons who gave information to investigators were hospitalized. One person developed HUS, and one death was reported from Michigan.

Investigators have identified and illness cluster at a restaurant that was not named. And  illness cluster is two or more people from different households who ate at the same restaurant, attended a common event, or bought food at the same grocery store before getting sick.

The strain of E. coli O157:H7 that is sickening people in this outbreak has caused outbreaks linked to different sources in the past, including an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce in 2018 that sickened 210 people in 36 states. While that is significant, it isn’t enough to blame this outbreak on  romaine or any leafy green.

This outbreak notice does not mention romaine, except for the same strain of bacteria, but the second outbreak, for which information was released at the same time, does. The CDC is not recommending that anyone avoid any particular food at this time.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection take about 2 to 8 days to manifest. These symptoms include a fever, nausea, vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is typically bloody.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of this infection, can appear days later. Symptoms of that illness include little or no urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, pale skin, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. It’s important that anyone experiencing these symptoms see a doctor as soon as possible because they could be part of this secret E  coli O157:H7 outbreak.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

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

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