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CDC: Dozens Suffer in E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Wendy’s

 Posted on September 23, 2022 in E. Coli

food poisoning lawyerWhen we stop for a quick bite to eat at a fast-food restaurant, we generally temper our expectations about the overall quality of the food. While it can certainly be frustrating, we are more or less willing to accept slightly cold fries in exchange for the convenience of a meal on the go. However, our expectations for food safety do not change, and we never expect to suffer from food poisoning when we choose fast food.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what reportedly happened to at least 97 people in six states after eating sandwiches from Wendy’s restaurants. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who experienced foodborne illness as part of this outbreak were infected with a specific strain of E. coli.

Details of the Outbreak

The first reports of illness associated with what would become a multi-state E. coli outbreak started in late July and continued through the second week of August. Cases of E. coli infections were reported in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, with more than half of all of the reported cases being from Michigan.

The most recent available update from the CDC indicates that 97 people were infected with E. coli, ranging in age from 3 to 94 years. Many of the reported illnesses were quite severe, and at least 43 people required hospitalization. At least ten were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but potentially serious condition that can lead to kidney failure.

The actual outbreak numbers are likely to be higher—perhaps significantly—than the reported numbers. This is due to several reasons, including the fact that it can take up to a month to determine that an infected person was part of the outbreak. Additionally, those who recovered without seeking medical attention or being tested for E. coli would not be counted in the reported numbers.

Specific Source of Contamination Still Undetermined

There has not been any official information released regarding the specific food that was contaminated with E. coli, but many reports suggest that the infections can be traced to romaine lettuce used on Wendy’s burgers and sandwiches. Officials say that the majority of those who fell ill reported eating a sandwich or burger with romaine.

For now, Wendy’s seems to agree with this deduction. “We have taken the precaution of discarding and replacing the sandwich lettuce in that region,” Wendy’s said in a statement. The fast-food chain also clarified that the lettuce used in salads is different from that used on sandwiches.

The CDC’s investigation is still ongoing to determine the source of contamination, as well as if there was anything Wendy’s should have done differently.

Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney

The full scope of the Wendy’s E. coli outbreak is not yet known, and it might have caused as-yet unreported infections in Illinois as well. If you or a loved one got sick after eating a Wendy’s sandwich, contact a Chicago food poisoning lawyer to discuss your available options. Call 312-981-0409 to schedule a free consultation with a member of the team at Newland & Newland, LLP today.



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