The CDC has updated information on an outbreak of E. Coli O157:H7 infections traced to certain packaged salads, removing three people from the patient list.
Organic Power Greens sold under the Simple Truth Organic brand and the Nature’s Basket brand are implicated in the outbreak and were sold at a variety of grocery stores, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Jan. 6, the CDC is reporting there are a total of 10 outbreak patients in four states. The most recent update before that reported 13 sick people, but genetic testing showed the E. Coli bacteria infecting three of the people was not closely related to that of other outbreak patients. None of those three sick people reported eating Organic Power Greens.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from Nov. 27, 2021, to Dec. 9, 2021.
Sick people range in age from 26 to 79 years old, with a median age of 59, and 100 percent are female. Of 10 people with information available, four have been hospitalized and one person developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No deaths have been reported.
“The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” according to the CDC. “This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.”
State and local public health officials interviewed people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Eight people reported eating Organic Power Greens sold under the Simple Truth Organic brand and one reported eating the Nature’s Basket brand. Seven people’s shopper records showed the purchase of these products. Both brands of Organic Power Greens have the same mix of leafy greens: organic spinach, mizuna, kale, and chard.
Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated.
About E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated products and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.
The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.
Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.
People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.
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