As of September 12, 2022, seven people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from six states (see map). Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 8, 2022, to August 17, 2022 (see timeline).
Sick people range in age from 17 to 69 years, with a median age of 25 years, and 57% are male. Of seven people with information available, six have been hospitalized and none developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.
State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the six people interviewed, all six (100%) reported eating ground beef from meal kits received from HelloFresh.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This means that people in this outbreak likely got sick from the same food.
Traceback conducted by USDA-FSIS identified that multiple sick people received ground beef in HelloFresh meal kits that was produced at establishment M46841. The USDA-FSIS traceback of materials used to produce the ground beef is ongoing.