The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are conducting an investigation into a multistate outbreak of E. coli.
According to a news release issued by the CDC, as of July 27, a total of 16 people infected with E. coli have been reported from 12 states so far. The illnesses began on dates ranging from Feb. 26 to June 21, and have been linked to cake mix batter.
Some of the victims have suffered serious health issues, and several have been hospitalized as a result.
What Official Investigations Have Found
The people who became ill range in age from 2 to 73, with a median age of 13, and all of them so far have been female. Of the 16 people who became ill, seven have been hospitalized. One person has developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS. No deaths have been reported so far.
CDC officials say the true number of people sickened in an outbreak is likely to be much higher than the number reported. The outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not necessarily tested for E. coli, according to officials. Also, recent illnesses may not yet be reported because it typically takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.
State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the eight people interviewed, six (or 75%) said they ate raw batter made with cake mix. People reported buying different varieties and brands of cake mix, according to the CDC release.
E. coli in Dough and Batter
E. coli is a type of bacteria that could prove lethal in some cases. Some of the common symptoms of an E. coli infection include bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Individuals with a weak immune system are particularly at risk of suffering serious effects. Some strains are even more dangerous as they could lead to a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS that could result in kidney failure and death.
According to food safety experts, cookie dough, pizza dough, cake, and pancake batters pose a risk of bacterial infection. You should be careful not to eat them before they are cooked. It is important to remember that raw dough can make you sick even if you don’t eat it. For example, kneading bread dough often leaves you with floury hands, which could be a problem if the flour is contaminated. Even storing uncooked dough next to other food could pose a risk.
If you or a loved one has become sick as a result of these or other products, you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries, damages, and losses you have suffered. You may be able to file a food poisoning lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer, a restaurant that served the food, and other potential parties. An experienced food poisoning lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.