FRIDAY, Aug 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A total of 84 people across four states have now been made ill by Escherichia coli in an outbreak possibly tied to contaminated lettuce used in sandwiches sold at Wendy’s restaurants.

“Since the last update on Aug. 19, 2022, 47 more illnesses have been reported to CDC,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an updated statement released Thursday. The 84 cases include 53 cases in Michigan, 23 cases in Ohio, six in Indiana, and two in Pennsylvania. “Thirty-eight people have been hospitalized, including eight people in Michigan who have a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome,” the CDC added, although “no deaths have been reported.”

The exact source of the outbreak has not been officially confirmed, but the CDC said that in 84 percent of cases people reported eating at Wendy’s before they became ill. “Of 17 people with detailed information about what they ate at Wendy’s, 15 (88 percent) reported eating romaine lettuce served on burgers and sandwiches,” the agency noted.

On Aug. 19, Wendy’s announced that it had removed romaine lettuce from its sandwiches in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. “Wendy’s is taking the precautionary measure of removing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in that region,” the CDC said. “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.”

Romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores does not appear to be affected, the CDC said, and people can still eat at Wendy’s and eat the romaine lettuce in the salads it sells. Wendy’s explained in a statement that the lettuce used in its salads is not the same as that used in its sandwiches.

“We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation of the regional E. coli outbreak reported in certain midwestern states,” the company said. “While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precaution of discarding and replacing the sandwich lettuce at some restaurants in that region.”

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