Suspected Wendy’s Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak Continues to Expand, With 97 Illnesses Identified in 6 States

There has still been no recall, as the CDC has not yet confirmed the E. coli outbreak is linked to Wendy's lettuce.

Federal health officials indicate that a multi-state food poisoning outbreak among individuals who ate Wendy’s sandwiches is continuing to spread, and has now sickened nearly 100 people in six different states.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided an update on E. coli illnesses in the Mid-West, indicating that the specific source of the outbreak has not yet been confirmed, but that the cases appears to be linked to romaine lettuce used at certain Wendy’s restaurants in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. However, illnesses have also surfaced in New York and Kentucky.

The suspected Wendy’s Lettuce E. coli outbreak was first reported last month, involving about 37 cases in three states. Over the past few weeks, the number of confirmed illnesses has nearly tripled, with roughly half of the cases involving severe enough food poisoning symptoms to require hospitalization. The onset of illnesses has ranged from July 26 to August 8, and the majority of cases have still been reported in Michigan, where 58 people have been sickened.

Among the 43 people who have required hospitalization, three reported suffering hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure linked to food poisoning. No deaths have been reported in connection to the suspected Wendy’s E. coli outbreak.

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Investigators continue to work on confirming whether the romaine lettuce at Wendy’s is the source of the outbreak, and whether romaine lettuce served at other restaurants or sold at other business and grocery stores may also be involved.

As a precautionary measure, Wendy’s removed the romaine lettuce being used for sandwiches from restaurants in that region. However, Wendy’s indicates that the fast-food chain uses a different type of romaine lettuce for salads.

In the wake of the outbreak, more than dozen people have already filed Wendy’s E. coli poisoning lawsuits, and it is widely expected that the size and scope of the litigation will continue to expand in the coming weeks.

The CDC has not recommended that consumers avoid eating at Wendy’s restaurants or stop eating romaine lettuce in general, as there is no evidence at this time to indicate the romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores or served at other restaurants may be linked to the food poisoning outbreak.

Symptoms of E. Coli include cramps, diarrhea, high fever, dehydration, dizziness, and vomiting. Symptoms typically begin about three to four days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people who suffer from E. Coli food poisoning will recover within a week without needing medical treatment. However, in some cases, people may experience severe illness and require hospitalization and medical attention. Anyone experiencing symptoms of E. coli food poisoning should contact their doctor immediately.

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