CDC Gives OK to Go to Wendy's Amid E. Coli Outbreak

6 states report illnesses, with most of those sick saying they ate Wendy's meals with romaine lettuce
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2022 9:15 AM CDT
2 More States Hit by E. Coli Surge Possibly Tied to Wendy's
This Feb. 25, 2021, photo shows a sign over a Wendy's restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

An E. coli surge in four states has now made its way to an additional two states. The CDC reports that New York and Kentucky have joined the list of states affected by the outbreak, including Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, the latter of which has seen 58 of the 97 reported cases, per NBC News. Of those sickened, 43 have been hospitalized. There have been no deaths. NBC notes, however, that the CDC believes more people than reported have fallen ill, and that more than six states may be affected.

Although "a specific food has not yet been confirmed as the source of this outbreak," the CDC notes that about 8 in 10 people who reported contracting E. coli said they'd eaten at Wendy's within a week of arising symptoms, which typically include diarrhea, vomiting, and resulting dehydration. Of those who could recall what they'd eaten, most said they'd had Wendy's burgers or sandwiches with romaine lettuce. One woman from Redford, Mich., has already filed a suit against the restaurant chain and its lettuce supplier, as have more than 30 other plaintiffs, saying she spent 12 days in the hospital after eating a Wendy's cheeseburger at the end of July and still hasn't returned to work, per WXYZ.

"It's sad because I really like going there," says Ebone Colbert. "My son loves them. But I can't see myself going back there." The CDC, which notes that a different type of romaine lettuce is used in Wendy's salads, stresses it's not warning people away from the fast-food chain, as Wendy's has taken the romaine lettuce used in sandwiches out of circulation in the affected areas. The health agency adds there's no evidence at the moment that romaine lettuce in grocery stores or sold in other restaurants is tainted. In a statement, Wendy's says it's fully cooperating with the investigation. (Read more E. coli stories.)

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