coli outbreak associated with Wendy’s restaurants has infected 97 people in 6 states
Wendy’s restaurants have been linked to outbreaks of E. coli that have now been reported in six states, with 97 people infected, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A drive-by lane at Wendy’s fast food restaurant in Shelbyville, Kentucky, November 5, 2017 (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA — Wendy’s restaurants have been linked to outbreaks of E. coli now reported in six states, with 97 people infected, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an update Thursday.
Of the 67 people with local public health officials with a detailed food history, 81% reported having eaten at Wendy’s in the week before their illness began, according to the CDC.
The states in which patients live include Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
No deaths were reported, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 people were hospitalized and 10 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure.
“It is possible that the true number of patients in this outbreak is higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to states with known diseases,” the update said. “In addition, some people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli.”
So far, no specific food has been confirmed as the source of the outbreak, according to the CDC. But in late August, Wendy removed the romaine lettuce that was being used in sandwiches at her restaurants in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to the CDC.
The CDC does not advise people to avoid Wendy’s, and the agency notes that there is no evidence that romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores or served at other restaurants is linked to the current outbreak.
Those who have symptoms of E. coli, such as diarrhea, fever over 102 degrees, severe vomiting, or signs of dehydration, should contact their health care provider immediately, according to the CDC. They are also encouraged to write down what they ate in the previous week and report their illness to the local or state health department.
Each year, about 1 in 6 Americans develop a foodborne illness from at least 31 known pathogens and other unspecified agents, according to the CDC, and about 3,000 lose their lives.