Leafy greens were a suspected food source in an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that ended with 22 illnesses and one death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eleven people were hospitalized. Three of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections.
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Health officials were not able to identify the exact food source. However, leafy greens were among the foods that patients reported eating in the days before they became ill. And genetic tests showed that the outbreak strain was the same one linked to a 2018 romaine lettuce outbreak that killed five people and a deadly 2020 E. coli outbreak where leafy greens were a suspected source.
For the 22 people sickened in this outbreak, Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 18, 2020, to January 12, 2021. In addtion to leafy greens, they also reported eating broccoli, cucumbers, and strawberries in the days before they became ill. The U.S. Food and Drug Administartion (FDA) had enough information about one of these foods to initiiate a traceback investigation -starting with a product that was purchased and tracing its route from store shelves back to the field where it was grown, but not enough information to conduct an on-site inspection or collect and analyze product samples.
E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Investigation
The CDC announced this outbreak on February 2, 2021. At that time, the outbreak included 16 illnesses in five states and nine hospitalizations. Since that time it has grown to include six more illnesses and two more states. The number of cases reported from each state is as follows: Arkansas (9) Maryland (1), New York (1), Oklahoma (6), Texas, (1), Virginia (2), and Washington (2). The fatality was reported in Washington.
The patients ranged in age from 10 to 95 years, with a median age of 28. Sixty-eight percent of the patients were female. Fifty percent of the patients were hospitalized. The typical hospitalization rate fro an E. coli outbreak is 30 percent.
“The hospitalization rate of this outbreak is almost twice the average,” said noted E. coli Lawyer Eric Hageman. “The hospitalization rates for the 2018 and 2020 outbreaks caused by the same strain were also unusually high.
If you were sickened in this outbreak and would like a free consultation with an experienced E. coli lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman E. coli Legal Team. We have represented clients in every major E. coli outbreak in the U.S. including those who battled HUS and families who suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.