About E. coli

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

Outbreaks

E. coli O103 Ground Beef Outbreak

Marler Clark investigated an E. coli O103 outbreak linked to ground beef. As of 2019 there were no common supplier, distributer, or brand of ground beef identified as the cause of outbreak.

The CDC, several states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also investigated this multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O103 infections. This investigation included E. coli O103 infections reported by the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may have been part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on E. coli bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE. WGS performed on E. coli from ill people in this outbreak showed that they are closely related genetically. This means that the ill people were more likely to share a common source of infection.

As of May 13, 2019, 196 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 were reported from ten states – Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. CDC reported the 196 illnesses that PulseNet confirmed were part of this outbreak. States investigated additional illnesses that might have been a part of this outbreak.

Illnesses started on dates from March 1, 2019, to April 19, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 84 years, with a median age of 19. Fifty-two percent were female. Of 174 people with information available, 28 (16%) had been hospitalized. No deaths and two cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) had been reported.

Outbreaks of E. coli O103 are rare. Investigation of this outbreak is now over. From the CDC NORS dataset:

https://wwwn.cdc.gov/norsdashboard/

YearStateTransmissionSerotypeSetting
Illnesses
2000
Washington
Food
O103
Caterer (food prepared off-site from where served); Other
18
2010
Minnesota
Food
O103:H2; O145:NM
School/college/university
29
2011
Wisconsin
Animal Contact
O103; O157:H7

6
2013
Minnesota
Person-to-person
O103
Child day care
3
2013
Pennsylvania
Indeterminate
O103:H2
Private home/residence
2
2014
Ohio
Indeterminate
O103
Child day care
3
2014
Multistate
Food
O103:H2
Restaurant – other or unknown type
12
2014
Ohio
Indeterminate
O103; O157:H7; O146:H21
Private home/residence
4
2015
Multistate
Food
O103
Restaurant – other or unknown type
4
2015
Ohio
Person-to-person
O103
School/college/university
6
2015
Multistate
Food
O103
Restaurant – other or unknown type
6
2015
Kansas
Person-to-person
O103
Child day care
12
2015
North Carolina
Person-to-person
O103
Child day care
20
2015
Virginia
Person-to-person
O103:H2
Prison/jail
4
2015
Ohio
Indeterminate
O103
Child day care
5
2016
Ohio
Indeterminate
O103
Other, specify
7
2017
Ohio
Person-to-person
O103
Child day care
4
2017
Oregon
Food
O103
Other
13


Connect with Marler Clark

Office:

1012 First Avenue
Fifth Floor
Seattle, WA 98104

Hours:

M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Pacific

Call toll free:

1 (800) 884-9840

If you have questions about foodborne illness, your rights or the legal process, we’d be happy to answer them for you.