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Outbreak Summary

On February 2, 2021, the CDC announced yet another outbreak of E. coli infections without a known source. This follows three separate outbreaks last fall that have still not been traced to a specific food source.

So far at least 16 people have been sickened, with nine hospitalizations and one tragic death in Washington State. At least three of the victims were stricken with a serious kidney complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). See below for more details.

OFT’s Food Safety lawyers are actively investigating this outbreak, and this page will update as we uncover more information. If you or a loved believe you were sickened in this outbreak, please call or contact us using the form on the page for a free consultation.

More Details

Another Deadly Outbreak of E. Coli O157:H7

The CDC has announced yet another active outbreak of active E. coli infections. No specific food source has been identified yet, but 16 people have already been sickened in five states:


Many of the illnesses have been severe: nine people have been hospitalized, including three with the serious complication of HUS. One person has died.

The known infections began just began just before Christmas, on December 23rd of last year:

Although the last known infection began in early January, it is likely more cases will surface because there is typically at least a two-week lag between the time tests are done and the time they are reported to the health department. The fact that COVID-19 cases are stressing public health departments and healthcare providers makes this kind of lag even more likely.

OFT’s Food Safety Lawyers weigh in


According to food safety lawyer Ryan Osterholm most outbreaks like this are ultimately solved.  “We know so far is that multiple people were sickened over a relatively short period of time. This gives the health department investigators the epidemiological and microbiological data they need to crack the case. Unfortunately, we have represented hundreds of people sickened after eating fresh or ready-to-eat produce.”

Food safety lawyer Brendan Flaherty

Osterholm and food safety attorney Brendan Flaherty are investigating the current E. coli outbreak and together worked extensively on the 2018 Romaine and 2019 Romaine outbreaks. Last year, Flaherty spoke with Emilee Fannon at WKOW News in Madison, Wisconsin about the 2019 E. coli outbreak tied to Romaine.

Flaherty has recovered millions of dollars for clients sickened in these kinds of outbreaks, including a seven-figure settlement for an individual who developed the serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

E. Coli Infections Can Lead to Serious Complications

Up to 10% of individuals suffering from an E. coli infection develop HUS, which is a life-threatening condition. HUS develops about seven days after the first E. coli symptoms appear and when the diarrhea is improving. HUS can cause a person’s kidneys to stop working. If you notice the signs, you should get yourself or loved one to the hospital for treatment right away.

Symptoms of HUS include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of pink color in cheeks and lower eyelids

Many people diagnosed with HUS recover within a few weeks with proper treatment. However, HUS can cause permanent physical harm or even death.

Contact us for more information

OFT Law offers free consultations to anybody potentially impacted by the outbreak.

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

Multistate Cyclospora outbreaks


A couple contracted Salmonella from a restaurant


A pedestrian was struck by a left-turning car, fracturing her tibia


A semi-truck rear-ended a motorcyclist causing a collapsed lung, rib fractures and road rash