E. coli foodborne illness comes in various forms. Those of great concern involve shiga-toxin producing strains of Escherichia coli bacteria. While there are various forms of shiga-toxin producing E. coli, one of the more well-known forms is E. coli O157:H7. However, the current multi-state outbreak of E. coli food poisoning doesn’t involve this strain. Instead, investigators are dealing with shiga-toxin producing strain E. coli O26.
Currently, six states have reported victims. The total count of those ill has now reached 14 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thus far, investigators have determined that this outbreak is possibly linked to raw clover sprouts from Jimmy John’s Restaurants. The six states currently reporting illnesses are Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan, Arkansas and Wisconsin.
Shiga-toxin producing E. coli bacteria, when ingested, can, in rare instances, be linked to cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal kidney complication. E. coli can lead to bloody diarrhea and carries with it a risk of dehydration. Those at greatest risk of developing complications following an E. coli infection include those with weak immune systems including children, the elderly, and chemotherapy patients.