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Elliot Olsen’s experience representing people sickened by E. coli spans decades, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation. If you or a family member got sick in this multistate E. coli outbreak, please call (612) 337-6126, or complete the following:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a multistate E. coli outbreak is being investigated by numerous government organizations.

Several state departments, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have joined forces with the CDC. The outbreak so far numbers 17 people in seven states who have been sickened by Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7.

The CDC’s outbreak numbers also report that six victims have been hospitalized, although that number might be higher. One patient has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a dangerous complication of E. coli illness (see below).

A specific source – food item, retail store, or restaurant chain – has not been identified. The CDC said it is not recommending that consumers avoid any particular food at this time. Restaurants and retailers are not advised to avoid serving or selling any particular food.

Multistate E. coli outbreak:
First illness reported late March

The CDC reports that illnesses started on dates ranging from March 22 to March 31. People who have become ill range in age from 12 to 84 years, with a median age of 41.

Sixty-five percent of those sickened are female. No deaths have been reported.

The seven states in the outbreak are: Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington. New Jersey has been the most affected, with six illnesses reported.

Panera Bread

Panera Bread locations in four New Jersey counties are being investigated in an E. coli outbreak in which eight people have been hospitalized.

Multistate E. coli outbreak:
Panera Bread on NJ radar

The New Jersey illnesses were the first to make headlines when it was reported that an unnamed restaurant was being investigated. New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) officials subsequently told NJ.com that they are investigating four Panera Bread locations.

Sarah Perramant, the public health epidemiologist in New Jersey’s Warren County, told NJ.com that the Panera Bread restaurant located in the Phillipsburg Mall on U.S. 22 was the primary focus of the DOH’s investigation. But, she said, “The Warren County Health Department and state Health Department are investigating a cluster of E. coli cases [potentially from] local Panera Breads.”

The Panera Bread restaurants under investigation are located in the counties of Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, and Warren.

The New Jersey outbreak totals differ from those of the CDC. New Jersey has reported eight illnesses, with all eight victims requiring hospitalization.

New Jersey residents who have eaten at any of the Panera Bread locations and then developed symptoms of E. coli food poisoning (see below) should seek medical attention.

Multistate E. coli outbreak:
Information about E. coli

One of the most common causes of food poisoning in the U.S. is E. coli bacteria (Escherichia coli). E. coli are normally found in the intestines of mammals, and most strains are benign. Some strains of E. coli, however, can cause serious illness, and Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7 is one of the most common – and most dangerous.

Anyone can become infected, but people with the highest risk of becoming severely ill include young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of E. coli
E. coli illnesses produce symptoms that are similar to those produced by other foodborne pathogens:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • severe abdominal cramping
  • diarrhea, which often can be bloody
  • fever and fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • decreased urination.

Symptoms usually last from five to 10 days, and most people recover on their own. Complications can arise, however, and produce dangerous consequences.

E. coli complications: HUS
As much as 10 percent of people infected with E. coli develop HUS, which can be life-threatening. The overwhelming majority of HUS cases involve children under the age of 5, and the disease is the leading cause of renal failure (acute kidney failure) for that age group.

HUS typically develops after a long bout with diarrhea. HUS damages red blood cells, which clog the kidney’s filtering system. If kidney failure results, a kidney transplant might be required.

HUS is fatal 2 percent to 7 percent of the time. Those fatalities usually involve children.

HUS victims who survive can suffer long-term consequences, such as hypertension or impaired kidney function.