A total of 167 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 27 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from September 20, 2019, to December 21, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 to 89 years, with a median age of 27. Sixty-four percent of ill people were female. Of 165 ill people with information available, 85 (52%) hospitalizations were reported, including 15 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also reported several illnesses that were closely related genetically to illnesses in the United States. As of December 6, 2019, there are two illnesses related to the U.S. outbreak that have been identified in Canada: Manitoba (1) and Alberta (1). These individuals became ill in mid-October and early November 2019. One individual was hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley growing region in California was the likely source of this outbreak. According to the FDA, this outbreak, a Washington state outbreak potentially linked to leafy greens, and a larger multi-state outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA growing region with cases in the U.S. and Canada, all shared a common romaine lettuce supplier with ranches in Salinas, CA. Although this grower was determined to be a common supplier for all three outbreaks based on available supply chain information, the romaine lettuce from this grower does not explain all the illnesses seen in the three outbreaks.
The Maryland Department of Health identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in an unopened package of Ready Pac Foods Bistro® Chicken Caesar Salad collected from a sick person’s home in Maryland. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in an unopened bag of Fresh Express® Leafy Green Romaine collected from an ill person’s home in Wisconsin. The Salinas Valley growing region in California was the main source of the romaine lettuce in both products.
E. coli: 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 $700 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.