E. coli Outbreak with Unknown Food Source

Illustration with a microscope and text reading Investigation Notice

Posted September 1, 2022

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 97  (13 new)
  • Hospitalizations: 43  (5 new)
  • Deaths: 0
  • States: 6  (2 new)
  • Recall: No
  • Investigation status: Active
Illustration of E. coli pathogen
Update on the Source

A specific food has not yet been confirmed as the source of this outbreak, but many sick people reported eating sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy’s restaurants in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before getting sick. Based on this information, Wendy’s has taken the precautionary measure of removing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in that region. Wendy’s uses a different type of romaine lettuce for salads. Investigators are working to confirm whether romaine lettuce is the source of this outbreak, and whether romaine lettuce used in Wendy’s sandwiches was served or sold at other businesses. Wendy’s is fully cooperating with the investigation.

What You Should Do

CDC is not advising people to avoid eating at Wendy’s restaurants or to stop eating romaine lettuce.

  • Wendy’s has taken the precautionary measure of removing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in this region.
  • At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores, served in other restaurants, or in people’s homes is linked to this outbreak.
  • CDC will update this advice if the investigation identifies foods to avoid.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe E. coli 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

If you have E. coli symptoms, help public health officials solve this outbreak:

  • Write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.
  • Report your illness to your local or state health department.
  • Answer public health officials’ questions about your illness.
What Businesses Should Do
  • Currently, CDC is not advising businesses to stop selling or serving any foods.
Symptoms of E. coli
  • Most people infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli experience severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.
    • Symptoms usually start 3 to 4 days after swallowing the bacteria.
    • Most people recover without treatment within 5 to 7 days.
  • Some people may develop serious kidney problems (hemolytic uremic syndrome, also called HUS) and need to be hospitalized.
  • For more information about E. coli, see the E. coli Questions and Answers page.