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CDC reports E. coli outbreak in Ohio and 3 other states

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Colorized scanning electron micrograph of E. coli. (Photo Credit: NIAID / WikiMedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

37 related cases of E. coli have been reported in four states — Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — over the span of just two weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

A specific food has not yet been confirmed as the source of this outbreak, but many sick people reported eating sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy’s restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania before getting sick, according to the CDC website.

Based on this information, Wendy’s is taking the precautionary measure of removing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in that region. Wendy’s uses a different type of romaine lettuce for salads.

Investigators are working to confirm whether romaine lettuce is the source of this outbreak, and whether romaine lettuce used in Wendy’s sandwiches was served or sold at other businesses. Wendy’s is fully cooperating with the investigation, the CDC says.

The CDC does not recommend that people avoid eating at Wendy’s or stop eating romaine lettuce in general, as there is no evidence to indicate that romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores, served in restaurants, or in people’s homes is linked to this outbreak.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe E. coli symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Not peeing much
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Feeling dizzy when standing up

If you have symptoms of E. coli infection, help public health officials solve this outbreak:

  • Write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.
  • Report your illness to your local or state health department.
  • Answer public health officials’ questions about your illness.

For more information, visit the CDC website here.

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