Wendy’s customers fall ill, CDC probes E.coli outbreak in four states

A general view of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/

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Aug 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was investigating an outbreak of E. coli bacteria in four states from an unknown food source, and many people involved are believed to have ate sandwiches at Wendy’s Co. (WEN.O).

Of the 37 patients, 22 people reportedly consumed Wendy’s sandwiches with romaine lettuce in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania in the week before their illness, the agency said Friday.

Investigators, however, have yet to confirm whether romaine lettuce is the cause and also whether the vegetable used in Wendy’s sandwiches was served or sold at other businesses.

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The burger chain said it was taking the precaution of removing sandwich lettuce from its restaurants in the area. Nearly 1,100 of the approximately 5,940 Wendy’s U.S. restaurants are located in the four states.

The illness began between July 26 and August 8 and a total of 10 people were hospitalized, three of whom in Michigan developed a type of kidney failure.

E. coli bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Although many strains are harmless, some types can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.

The CDC said the exact number of people affected is likely higher and the outbreak may not be limited to the four states.

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Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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