Public health officials are investigating an E. coli outbreak that has infected at least 17 people in eight states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday.
The cases, which include seven hospitalizations, have cropped up in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Washington and Wisconsin, according to the CDC. No deaths have been reported.
Two of those hospitalized have developed a type of kidney failure — hemolytic uremic syndrome — known to be associated with this particular type of bacteria, E. coli O157:H7.
The bacteria produces a toxin that causes symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, typically within several days of swallowing the bug. Usually, this is resolved within a week, but sometimes it can get worse and last longer.
Maryland health officials are waiting to see whether E. coli found in an unopened package of Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Chicken Caesar Salad in one patient’s home is genetically related to the bacteria causing the outbreak. While patients in Maryland report having eaten this particular brand, those in other states have not.
The CDC recommends that people not eat or sell this particular product with a “Best By” date of October 31.
The agency is still investigating to see whether other products may be connected to the outbreak.