CDC Reports Additional Cases Of E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Wendy's

While the CDC has yet to identify the source of the outbreak, many of those infected had eaten burgers or sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy's before falling sick.
The Wendy's logo sign is seen above a restaurant on Aug. 18, 2022.
The Wendy's logo sign is seen above a restaurant on Aug. 18, 2022.
Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Investigators from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said they have identified 13 new cases in the multistate E. coli outbreak found in people who consumed romaine lettuce in burgers and sandwiches from the Wendy’s fast food restaurant chain.

CDC data shows the outbreak has now spread to two new states, as Kentucky and New York reported their first cases. The other four states with known cases include Michigan with 54 cases, Ohio with 24, Indiana with 11 and Pennsylvania with two, tallying up to a total of 97 people who have contracted the illness nationwide as of Wednesday.

Forty-three people out of 81 where health authorities have information available have been hospitalized and 10 people have developed a more serious condition linked to kidney failure, while no deaths have been documented.

Ebone Colbert told ABC affiliate WXYZ she was hospitalized for 12 days after she ate a cheeseburger at a Wendy’s restaurant in Farmington, Michigan, in late July. Colbert said she had bloody diarrhea and immediately got in touch with her doctor, who instructed her to got to the ER.

Colbert is now not only suing the restaurant chain, but also going after one its suppliers, the John Doe Corporation, WXYZ reported.

Last month, Wendy’s issued a statement addressing a CDC report that named the company as potentially related to the outbreak, saying it had already taken action to remove the romaine lettuce in some of its restaurants in the Midwest.

“We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation of the regional E. coli outbreak reported in certain midwestern states,” the Aug. 19 statement reads. “While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we have taken the precaution of removing the sandwich lettuce at some restaurants in that region.”

The CDC on Thursday said they are still working to identify what caused the outbreak.

The first case was reported on July 26, while the latest was logged on Aug. 15. The CDC though warns cases may be undercounted since many people recover before getting tested for E. coli and it takes between three to four weeks to make an assessment on whether someone has been infected as part of this E. coli outbreak.

Investigators have been logging patients’ food history. From 67 patients who provided a detailed assessment of what they ate in the week prior to developing the illness, 81% said they had dined at a Wendy’s restaurant. Sixty-nine percent of those who provided details of what they consumed at Wendy’s said they ate romaine on burgers and sandwiches.

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