Since the outbreak was announced we have fielded dozens of phone calls and emails from the US and Canada from victims of this recent E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce likely grown in California.  Two families – one in British Columbia (who had been in California the week before) and one in New York (woman developed HUS and was in ICU for weeks) – reported romaine consumption and a positive test for Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7).

The CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, Canada, and the FDA are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) infections.

As of November 20, 2018, 32 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 11 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2018 to October 31, 2018. Ill people range in age from 7 to 84 years, with a median age of 24. Sixty-six percent of ill people are female. Of 26 people with information available, 13 (50%) were hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

In Canada, as of November 20, 2018, there have been 19 confirmed cases of E. coli illness investigated in Ontario (3), Quebec (15) and (1) in the Maritimes. Individuals became sick between mid-October and early November 2018. Six individuals have been hospitalized, and one individual suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a severe complication that can result from an E. coli infection. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 5 and 93 years of age. The majority of cases (56%) are female.

Epidemiologic evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from California is a likely source of this outbreak.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) results showed that the E. coli O157:H7 strain isolated from ill people in this outbreak is closely related genetically to the E. coli strain isolated from ill people in a 2017 outbreak linked to leafy greens in the United States and to romaine lettuce in Canada. The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce. People in the spring outbreak were infected with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria with a different DNA fingerprint.

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 $650 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.