An E. Coli outbreak has been linked to lettuce served at Wendy's restaurants across Indiana and other parts of the midwest, according to the CDC.

What Exactly Is E. Coli?

E. Coli is the commonly abbreviated name for the group of Escherichia coli bacterias. It is often found in our environments, in our digestive tract, as well as in the digestive tract of animals, and it is also commonly found in food. There are several different kinds of E. Coli bacteria and most of them are harmless to humans. However, there are that some can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from upset stomach and diarrhea to respiratory infections and even pneumonia, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Source of the Current Outbreak

The CDC says they have not yet identified a confirmed source of the E. Coli outbreak currently impacting people in four states, but believe it may be tied to romaine lettuce used on sandwiches at Wendy's restaurants. They say the popular fast-food chain has been proactive by removing the romaine lettuce used for sandwiches from locations in those regions as a precaution. At this time, it is not clear if the lettuce is the source of the outbreak or if the lettuce has been sold or served at any other restaurants or stores.

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84 People Have Been Infected - So Far

The CDC is reporting that 84 positive cases of E. Coli have been in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio in the midwest, as well as Pennsylvania on the east coast. Of those, 38 people have been hospitalized. According to Bloomberg, while no deaths have been reported as a result of the outbreak, eight people infected have kidney failure.

E. Coli Symptoms

As we mentioned earlier, there are several different types of E. Coli bacteria and they can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The CDC recommends that you contact your medical professional if you experience any of the following severe 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

More On the Outbreak

At the time the CDC is not advising that Wendy's, or any other restaurant or business, stop selling or serving any foods. If you have symptoms and suspect you have contracted E. Coli, it is recommended that you make a list of any and all foods you have eaten in the previous week and then contact your local or state health departments. For answers to questions you may have about E. Coli, the CDC has a resource page available here.

[Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention]

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