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FRIDAY, August 26, 2022 — A total of 84 people in four states have now been sickened by E. coli, in an outbreak possibly linked to contaminated lettuce used in sandwiches sold at Wendy’s restaurants.
“Since the last update on August 19, 2022, 47 additional illnesses have been reported to CDC,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an updated statement issued Thursday. That includes 53 cases in Michigan, 23 cases in Ohio, 6 in Indiana and 2 in Pennsylvania.
Diseases due to infection of the digestive tract have often been serious.
“Thirty-eight people have been hospitalized, including 8 people in Michigan with a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome,” the CDC said, although “no deaths have been reported.”
The exact source of the outbreak has not been officially confirmed, but the CDC said that in 84% of cases, people reported eating at Wendy’s before becoming ill.
“Of the 17 people with detailed information about what they ate at Wendy’s, 15 (88%) said they eat a romantic salad served on burgers and sandwiches,” the agency said.
That August. 19, Wendy’s announced that it had removed romaine lettuce from its sandwiches in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Wendy’s is taking the precautionary measure of removing romaine lettuce used in sandwiches from restaurants in the area,” the CDC said. “Investigators are working to confirm whether romaine lettuce is the source of this outbreak and whether romaine lettuce used in Wendy’s sandwiches was served or sold at other establishments.”
Romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores does not appear to be affected, the CDC said, and people can still eat at Wendy’s and eat the romaine lettuce in the salads it sells. Wendy’s explained in a statement that the lettuce used in the salads is not the same as used in the sandwiches.
“We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation into a regional E. coli outbreak reported in certain Midwestern states,” the company said. “While the CDC has not yet confirmed that a specific food is the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precautionary measure of discarding and replacing the clam salad at some restaurants in that area.”
Most people with an E. coli infection “start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria,” the CDC said. “Illnesses, however, can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.” Illnesses usually last from 5 to 7 days.
What to do:
- Watch for signs of severe E. coli, including diarrhea that lasts more than three days or diarrhea accompanied by a fever greater than 102°F, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of urination.
- If you suffer from these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
- Keep track of what and where you ate in the week before you got sick and report it to your local or state health department.
For more information on the outbreak, visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, press release, August. 25, 2022; Wendy’s, statement, August. 19, 2022
By Ernie Mundell HealthDay Reporter
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