More sick from E. Coli outbreak linked to Wendy’s Restaurant Salad

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By Ernie Mundell HealthDay reporter
Health Day Reporter

FRIDAY, August 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A total of 84 people in four states have now contracted E. coli in an outbreak that may be linked to contaminated lettuce used in sandwiches sold at Wendy’s restaurants.

“Since the last update on August 19, 2022, 47 additional diseases have been reported to the CDC,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an updated statement released Thursday. These include 53 cases in Michigan, 23 cases in Ohio, 6 in Indiana and 2 in Pennsylvania.

Diseases caused by infections with the gastrointestinal bacterium are often severe.

“Thirty-eight people were hospitalized, including 8 people in Michigan who have a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome,” the CDC said, although “no deaths have been reported.”

The exact source of the outbreak has not been officially confirmed, but the CDC said that 84% of the time, people reported eating at Wendy’s before becoming ill.

“Of 17 people with detailed information about what they ate at Wendy’s, 15 (88%) reported eating romaine lettuce served on burgers and sandwiches,” the agency noted.

On August 19, Wendy’s announced that it had removed romaine lettuce from its sandwiches in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“Wendy’s is taking the precautionary measure of removing romaine lettuce, which is used in sandwiches, from restaurants in this region,” the CDC said. “Investigators are working to confirm if romaine lettuce is the source of this outbreak and if the romaine lettuce used in Wendy’s sandwiches was served or sold at other stores.”

Romaine lettuce sold at grocery stores doesn’t appear to be affected, the CDC said, and people can still dine at Wendy’s and eat the romaine lettuce in the salads sold there. Wendy’s said in a statement that the lettuce used in its salads is not the same as that used in its sandwiches.

“We are fully cooperating with health authorities in their ongoing investigations into the regional E. coli outbreak that has been reported in certain Midwestern states,” the company said. “While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of this outbreak, we are taking precautions by discarding and replacing the sandwich salad at some restaurants in this region.”

Most people with an E. coli infection “feel sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria,” the CDC said. “However, illnesses can begin between 1 and 10 days after exposure.” Illnesses typically last 5 to 7 days.

What to do:

  • Watch out for symptoms of severe E. coli infection, including diarrhea lasting more than three days or diarrhea accompanied by a fever over 40°C, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of urination.
  • If you experience these symptoms, call your doctor right away.
  • Write down what and where you ate in the week before you became ill and report it to your local or state health department.

More information

For more information on the outbreak, visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, press release, August 25, 2022; Wendy’s, statement, August 19, 2022

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