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E. coli O121 Outbreak Linked to Farm Rich brand frozen mini chicken and cheese quesadillas

  • 15 States – Most ill in New York and Texas
  • 24 Sickened by E. coli O121
  • 78% – Under 21
  • 63% – Female
  • Youngest – 2 years
  • Hospitalized – 7 (33%)
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome – 1
  • No Deaths

A total of 24 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 have been reported from 15 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Michigan (2), Mississippi (1), New York (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (3), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from December 30, 2012 to March 9, 2013. Ill persons range in age from 2 years to 75 years, with a median age of 17 years. Seventy-eight percent of ill persons are 21 years of age or younger. Sixty-three percent of ill persons are female. Among 21 persons with available information, 7 (33%) reported being hospitalized. One ill person developed HUS, and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies indicate that Farm Rich brand frozen food products are one likely source of this outbreak of E. coli O121 infections.  The New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 in an opened package of Farm Rich brand frozen mini chicken and cheese quesadillas from an ill person’s home.

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