In the latest update posted by the CDC on August 19th, 37 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections were reported in the states of Ohio (19), Michigan (15), Indiana (1), and Pennsylvania (2). However, experts believe the actual number of infections to be much higher than 100, with estimates of at least 200 cases. Most notably, despite the CDC reporting 15 of the 37 cases occurring in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has reported 43 confirmed E. coli O157 infections. In total, the MDHHS received 98 reports of E. coli infections in August from Michigan residents. For reference, Michigan officials only received 20 reports of E. coli infections during the same time period in 2021. The 43 Michigan E. coli O157 infections have been confirmed to match the same strain of E. coli as the Wendy’s outbreak strain and all cases match the illness onset date of late July through early August. Michigan health officials are currently testing at least 55 additional E. coli infections to determine if they are also connected to the Wendy’s outbreak.
In Ohio, officials in Wood Country are testing samples from 22 residents with E. coli infections and have so far confirmed 9 of the cases to have stemmed from the same strain of E. coli bacteria. Experts believe that the true number of cases involved in the Wendy’s outbreak is much higher than reported and expect to see an increase of reported cases in the days to come.
Ron Simon and Associates recently filed the first lawsuit for a Pennsylvania women who was hospitalized after consuming a Baconater and French fries at her local Wendy’s in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. New lawsuits against Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers of New York, LLC, are being filed everyday for people who have experienced E. coli infections after consuming Wendy’s food, specifically products with romaine lettuce.
Wendy’s is currently collaborating with the CDC, the FDA, and state and local health officials to trace the source of the outbreak. In spite of there not being of an official ingredient confirmed as the source of the outbreak, the majority of confirmed cases attested to eating a Wendy’s product that contained romaine lettuce. In an effort to prevent further cases, Wendy’s has discarded and replaced romaine lettuce at certain locations. At this moment, the CDC has not connected the outbreak to a specific brand or source of romaine lettuce and does not recommend avoiding eating romaine lettuce or avoiding eating at Wendy’s.