As of December 29, 2021, 13 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from six states – Washington – 7, Alaska – 2, California – 1, Mississippi – 1, Ohio – 1, Oregon – 1. Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 27, 2021, to December 9, 2021.
Sick people range in age from 4 to 79 years, with a median age of 54, and 92% are female. Of 12 people with information available, four have been hospitalized and one person developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No deaths have been reported.
State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of 12 people interviewed, all reported eating packaged salads. Of 10 people who provided brand information, 6 ate or bought Simple Truth Organic Power Greens and 1 ate Nature’s Basket Organic Power Greens. Both Organic Power Greens salads have the same mix of leafy greens: organic spinach, mizuna, kale, and chard. Several sick people reported using these salads in smoothies.
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.
CDC is advising not to eat Simple Truth Organic Power Greens and Nature’s Basket Organic Power Greens with “best if used by” dates through December 20, 2021. Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated.