E. Coli Outbreak: Wendy’s Restaurant Lettuce Linked to More Cases

In an E. coli outbreak that may be related to tainted lettuce used in sandwiches sold at Wendy’s restaurants, 97 people have now become ill across six states.

13 additional infections have been reported to the CDC since the last update on August 25, 2022, according to an updated statement issued Thursday by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The list of states reporting cases now includes two additional states, Kentucky and New York (each with one case), in addition to Michigan (58 cases), Ohio (24), Indiana (11) and Pennsylvania (2).

The gastrointestinal bacteria infection has frequently resulted in severe illnesses.

Although “no deaths have been recorded,” the CDC reported that “of 81 persons with information available, 43 have been hospitalised and 10 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a dangerous illness that can cause kidney failure.”

The specific cause of the outbreak has not yet been formally determined, but according to the CDC, 81% of persons who were asked what they had eaten in the week before falling ill in 67 instances reported doing so at Wendy’s.

Romaine lettuce was served on burgers and sandwiches for 37 of the 54 people who provided detailed information about what they had consumed at Wendy’s, according to the agency.

On August 19, Wendy’s declared that it had stopped using romaine lettuce in its sandwiches in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

The CDC at the time stated, “Wendy’s is taking the preventative measure of withdrawing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in that region.” “Investigators are seeking to determine whether the outbreak is linked to romaine lettuce and to determine whether romaine lettuce used in Wendy’s sandwiches was sold or served at other establishments.”

According to the CDC, romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores does not appear to be impacted, and customers can still eat at Wendy’s and consume the romaine lettuce that is used in its salads. In a statement, Wendy’s clarified that the lettuce used in its salads and sandwiches is different.

At the time, the business declared that “we are fully collaborating with public health authorities on their continuing investigation of the regional E. coli outbreak reported in some midwestern states.” Although the CDC has not yet established a single food as the cause of that illness, some businesses in that area are replacing their sandwich lettuce out of caution.

According to the CDC, most E. coli infections “start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that includes the bacteria.” But diseases can appear anywhere between one and ten days following exposure. Usually, illnesses endure 5 to 7 days.

Steps to Take:

Severe E. coli symptoms include diarrhoea that lasts longer than three days, diarrhoea that is accompanied by a temperature of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, and a lack of urine.
Call your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
Keep a record of what you consumed during the week prior to becoming ill and report it to your regional or national health agency.

Information about
Visit the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional information on the outbreak.

SOURCES: Wendy’s statement on August 19, 2022; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention news release on August 25, 2022

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