As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.
State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.
CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing.