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Elliot Olsen is a nationally known foodborne illness lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member were sickened in this five-state outbreak, you might have cause to file a foodborne illness lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has joined the fight against a mysterious five-state outbreak of E. coli illnesses in which 72 people have been sickened, and eight of them have been hospitalized.

The CDC said it has entered with several state organizations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the five-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 infections.

Officials from multiple states informed the CDC that they are investigating other illnesses, so it’s just a matter of time before more cases are added to the outbreak total.

Consumers are being urged to contact their local health department if they believe they were sickened by E. coli O103 and to document what they ate in the week before symptoms began.

Five-state outbreak of E. coli up to 72 illnesses

The CDC has joined the fight against a mysterious five-state outbreak of E. coli illnesses in which 72 people have been sickened, and eight of them have been hospitalized. The outbreak first made news in Kentucky, which has been hit the hardest, with 36 cases reported.

Five-state outbreak:
Source still unknown

The outbreak first made headlines March 29, when the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) issued an alert stating that at least 20 people – most of them children and teenagers from central Kentucky – had become ill. At that time, the DPH had linked the outbreak to fast food, although it did not specify the precise source.

Less than a week later, the Kentucky outbreak had more than doubled, to 46 illnesses. Barbara Fox, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said that six people had been hospitalized. She also said the cases, once limited to central Kentucky, had been reported across the state.

Five-state outbreak:
Kentucky hit hardest

Although the outbreak has spread beyond Kentucky’s borders, the Bluegrass State has been hit the hardest, with half (36) of the 72 illnesses. Tennessee is the only other state showing double-digit cases, with 21; the other three states involved are Georgia (8), Ohio (5), and Virginia (2).

Illnesses started on dates from March 2 March 29. Ill people range in age from 1 year old to 74 years old; the median age is 17. Fifty-five percent (40) are female. No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially deadly kidney disease, have been reported.

Additionally, until the search narrows, the CDC says there is no need for restaurants or retailers to avoid selling or serving a particular food product. “This is a rapidly evolving investigation,” the CDC said. “We will update our advice if a source is identified.”

It is the first official investigation of an E. coli outbreak in 2019 for the CDC, which investigated three outbreaks in 2018.

Five-state outbreak:
E. coli symptoms

Symptoms of an E. coli illness are similar to those of other types of food poisoning, and can include:

  • diarrhea, which can become bloody
  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • lack of appetite
  • decreased urination.

Anyone can become sick from the foodborne pathogen, but people with the highest risk of developing HUS include the very young and the very old, and anyone with a compromised immune system, most predominately pregnant women.

Five-state outbreak:
About HUS

Approximately 10 percent of those infected with E. coli will develop HUS, and the majority of HUS cases involve children under the age of 5. HUS is the leading cause of acute kidney failure for that age group.

HUS generally develops after a prolonged case of diarrhea, usually a week or longer. The disease results in damaged red blood cells, which can clog the kidneys’ filtering system. In the most serious cases, a kidney transplant might be necessary.

Free consultation

Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by food poisoning. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: