In the latest update posted by the CDC on August 19th, 37 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections were reported in the states of Ohio (19), Michigan (15), Indiana (1), and Pennsylvania (2). However, experts believe the actual number of infections to be much higher than 100, with estimates of at least 200 cases. Most notably, despite the CDC reporting 15 of the 37 cases occurring in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has reported 43 confirmed E. coli O157 infections. In total, the MDHHS received 98 reports of E. coli infections in August from Michigan residents. For reference, Michigan officials only received 20 reports of E. coli infections during the same time period in 2021. The 43 Michigan E. coli O157 infections have been confirmed to match the same strain of E. coli as the Wendy’s outbreak strain and all cases match the illness onset date of late July through early August. Michigan health officials are currently testing at least 55 additional E. coli infections to determine if they are also connected to the Wendy’s outbreak.
In Ohio, officials in Wood Country are testing samples from 22 residents with E. coli infections and have so far confirmed 9 of the cases to have stemmed from the same strain of E. coli bacteria. Experts believe that the true number of cases involved in the Wendy’s outbreak is much higher than reported and expect to see an increase of reported cases in the days to come.