A deadly E. coli outbreak includes six people in Arkansas and 11 more in New York, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Washington. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that is investigating a five-state E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that is causing unusually severe infections. Of the 16 people sickened, nine have been hospitalized, three have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections, andone person has died.
Investigators are still working to determine the exact food source. Genetic tests show the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 has been linked to previous outbreaks. Two were linked to produce, a 2018 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, AZ that killed five people, and a deadly 2020 E. coli outbreak where leafy greens were a suspected source. Recreational water and ground beef were also identified as the sources of outbreaks caused by the same strain.
The hospitalization rate of this outbreak is almost twice the average. Hospitalization rates for Yuma-grown romaine and suspected leafy greens were also unusually high. And this is the time of year that lettuce is grown in Yuma. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not reported that it is currently investigating an E. coli outbreak. The USDA, on the other hand, is.
Last night, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), which regulates meat and poultry, updated its Foodborne Outbreak Investigations page to include a new Listeria investigation and a new E. coli O157:H7 investigation both with unknown sources.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Because of the virulence of this outbreak strain, the CDC is urging anyone with the following symptoms to seek immediate medical attention:
- Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F.
- Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving
- Bloody diarrhea
- So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth or throat, feeling dizzy when you stand up, not urinating (peeing) much
The CDC is also asking anyone with these symptoms to help solve the outbreak by doing the following:
- Write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.
- Report your illness to your local or state health department.
- Answer public health officials’ questions about your illness.
The 16 people sickened in this outbreak, who range in age from 10 to 95 years old, said they first developed symptoms of an E. coli infection on dates ranging from December 23, 2020, to January 7, 2021. Fourteen of the patients are female, two are male.
If you recently developed an E. coli O157:H7 infection from contaminated food and would like a free consultation with an experienced E. coli lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman E. coli Legal Team. We have represented clients in every major E. coli outbreak in the U.S. including those who battled HUS and families who suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.