The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently investigating three E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that have sickened more than 50 across 15 states, including one death in Michigan.
The first two E. coli outbreaks, which include the one death, were announced Oct. 28, 2020 with an unknown food origin.
The latest outbreak announced on Nov. 10, 2020, which has seen a dozen sick in six states, may be linked to recalled romaine lettuce sold by Tanimura & Antle across the country, including more than 1,100 Walmart stores.
"The FDA is investigating a third outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that matches the E. coli O157:H7 strain found by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Tanimura & Antle brand packaged single head romaine lettuce. It is important to note that the E.coli strain identified in this outbreak is not genetically related to either of the E. coli strains that we reported investigating on Oct. 28. This is a new and separate outbreak,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, in a release.
Latest E. Coli Outbreak has Dozen Sick in Six States
The CDC reports that the latest outbreak has 12 people infected in California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia with five people hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from September 2, 2020, to October 14, 2020. Ill people range in age from 8 to 62 years
"At this time, there is not enough epidemiologic and traceback evidence to determine if ill people in this outbreak were exposed to romaine lettuce from Tanimura & Antle, Inc.,” said Yiannas.
On Nov. 6, 2020, Salinas, California-based Tanimura & Antle recalled some 3,4000+ cases of packaged single-head romaine lettuce, identified as:
- UPC number: 0-27918-20314-9
- Packed on date: 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020
- Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) sticker for retailers and distributors: 571280289SRS1 and 571280290SRS1
"Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not eat, sell or serve recalled Tanimura & Antle, Inc. brand packaged single head romaine lettuce with a pack date of Oct. 15 or 16. We are actively investigating with our partners and will provide additional information as it becomes available,” said Yiannas.
Walmart posted a list online of 1,117 stores in 23 states where the recalled romaine lettuce may be sold.
First Two Outbreaks Caused by Strains Linked to Earlier Romaine
The first two outbreaks announced at the end of October have not been associated with a specific food item, but both feature E. coli strains in previous outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce:
- One strain is genetically related to a strain that caused the 2019 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine grown in the California Central Coast Salinas region.
- One strain is genetically related to a larger, diverse genetic cluster, including the strain that caused the 2018 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine and environmental isolates from the Yuma, Arizona region.
CDC breakdown of the illness from the Oct. 28 announced E. coli strains:
- Oct. 28 first strain: 21 people ill in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin. Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 6, 2020, to October 5, 2020. Ill people range in age from 2 to 75 years. Of 16 ill people with information available, 8 hospitalizations have been reported, including 1 person who developed a type of kidney failure. One death reported from Michigan.
- Oct. 28 second strain: 23 people infected from California, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 17, 2020, to October 8, 2020. Ill people range in age from 5 to 81 years. Of 15 ill people with information available, 10 hospitalizations have been reported, including 2 people who developed a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
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