E. coli outbreak that has sickened 17 people in 8 states may be linked to pre-packaged salad

Pre-packaged chicken Caesar salad may be to blame for E. coli outbreak that has struck 17 people in 8 states, officials say

  • The CDC said Wednesday 17 people in 8 states have contracted E. coli infections
  • So far, seven people have been hospitalized, two with a type of kidney failure 
  • The strain (O157:H7) is the same strain from romaine lettuce that sickened dozens in California last year
  • Maryland health officials found E. coli bacteria inside a lot of Ready Pac Bistro Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Seven patients in Maryland reported eating the salad and tests are being performed to see if the salad is linked to the outbreak

An E. coli outbreak that has sickened 17 people across eight states may be linked to pre-packaged salad, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Wednesday.  

Seven people that have been hospitalized – two of whom have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is linked to this particular strain, O157:H7.

However, no deaths have been reported.

Illnesses occurred from September 4 to November 8 of this year, with those sick ranging between three years old and 72. 

Health officials in Maryland found E. coli bacteria inside a lot of Ready Pac Bistro Chicken Caesar Salad and are investigating to see if the salad is a source.

Health officials are investigating whether or not Ready Pac Bistro Chicken Caesar Salad (pictured) is linked to an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 17 people across 8 states

Cases of E. coli infections have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Washington and Wisconsin.

Health officials in Maryland are awaiting test results to see if the E. coli found in the pre-packaged salad in one patient’s home is genetically linked to the bacteria causing the the outbreak.

While seven Maryland patients reported eating Ready Pac before becoming sick, patients in other states have not.

The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration said the product was sold in Sam’s Club stores and has a ‘Best By’ date of October 31.  

The salad was part of Lot #255406963 and had a UPC code of 0 77745 27249 8.   

Ready Pac is not issuing a recall notice, saying in a statement: ‘The products identified are already significantly past their use-by dates and will no longer be on store shelves’. 

E. coli (Escherichia coli) are bacteria that generally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals.

Most strains are harmless but a few, particularly E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe infections.

According to the Mayo Clinic, O157:H7 produces a powerful toxin, called Shiga toxin, which damages the lining of the small intestine.  

Infections occur from coming into cont act with the feces of humans or animals or eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

Symptoms typically include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting that generally last five to seven days.

The CDC estimates E. coli O157:H7 causes 265,000 illness, 3,600 hospitalizations and 30 deaths in the US annually.

Most people can recover without treatment, although there are cases in which people develop hemolytic uremic syndrome.

This is a condition in which there is an abnormal destruction of blood platelets and red blood cells.

The damaged blood cells can clog the kidney’s filtering system, resulting in life-threatening kidney failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

This is the same strain that sickened at least 59 people in 15 states after they ate romaine lettuce from California last fall.

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