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E. coli cases confirmed in Pennsylvania, illness reportedly from Wendy's

A specific food has not yet been confirmed as a source of the outbreak, but most of the sick people reportedly ate sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy's.
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E. coli bacteria found in intestine of warm-blooded organism - 3D render

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Pennsylvania has been added to the increasing list of E. coli cases reported around the country. 

Thirty-seven people across Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have been infected by the outbreak. 

A specific food has not yet been confirmed as a source of the outbreak, but most of the sick people reported eating sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy's restaurants before feeling ill. 

No deaths have been reported at this time, but ten have been hospitalized. Three in Michigan were diagnosed with a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome

Wendy's has taken the precautionary measure of removing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in the affected regions. A different type of romaine lettuce is used in the restaurant's salads. 

The CDC is currently not advising that people avoid eating at Wendy's or that individuals stop eating romaine lettuce. 

At this time, there is no evidence that romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores, served in other restaurants, or in homes is linked to the outbreak. 

Investigators are working to confirm if romaine lettuce is the source of the outbreak and whether the lettuce served at Wendy's restaurants was served or sold at other businesses. 

Officials recommend taking the following steps if you feel ill: 

  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have severe E. coli symptoms, such as diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, bloody diarrhea, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and are not peeing much.
  • If you have symptoms of E. coli, help us 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.

About E. coli:

  • Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/38.5˚C).
  • Most people get better within 5 to 7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.
  • Most people with a STEC infection start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

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