According to the CDC, as of September 1, 2022, a total of 97 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from six states – Indiana 11, Kentucky 1, Michigan 58, New York 1, Ohio 24, and Pennsylvania 2. It is expected, according to the NCBI database, that the actual numbers of ill will be 115 or more shortly. Interestingly, according to the CDC, for E. coli O157:H7, there is an underreporting rate of 26.1 – meaning for everyone 1 person counted by the CDC another 26.1 were actually sickened.
I do expect the CDC to update the counted illnesses this week.
According to the CDC, as of September 1, 2022, illnesses started on dates ranging from July 26, 2022, to August 15, 2022. Sick people range in age from 3 to 94 years, with a median age of 22 years, and 55% are male. Of 81 people with information available, 43 have been hospitalized and 10 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because some of the recent illnesses have not yet been reported to PulseNet as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak. In addition, some people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli.
State and local public health officials have been interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Among 67 people with detailed food history, 54 (81%) reported eating at a Wendy’s restaurant in the week before their illness started. The Wendy’s restaurants where sick people ate are in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. People reported eating a variety of menu items, including burgers and sandwiches. Of 54 people with detailed information about what they ate at Wendy’s, 37 (69%) reported eating romaine lettuce served on burgers and sandwiches. Investigators continue to analyze data at the ingredient level to determine if there are any other possible foods that could be the source of the outbreak.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $850 Million for clients in the last 29 years. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.
- About E. coli – a complete online resource with information on symptoms and risks of E. coli infection
- About hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) – a complete online resource with information about acute kidney failure
- Marler Clark E. coli Lawsuits and Litigation
- A downloadable Family Health Guide on E. coli (PDF)
- Video on E. coli O157:H7 and HUS