Cucumbers imported from Mexico are the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak in Colorado. In October 2013, sandwiches from Jimmy John’s containing cucumbers sickened nine people. Eight of these cases were confirmed, with the last one being probable. At least one of the cases developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing confirmed that those infected all suffered from the same strain of E. coli O157:H7. This is the first reported occurrence in the United States of an E. coli outbreak that developed from contaminated cucumbers. Cucumber related outbreaks are usually caused by Salmonella.
Health investigators in Colorado were limited to only investigating what happened to the cucumbers once they reached Colorado. Their findings show that Jimmy John’s was likely not at fault in the outbreak, as no major violations were reported. It is more likely that the contamination of the cucumbers occurred prior to their arrival at the Jimmy John’s locations.
Symptoms of E. coli infections appear between three or four days after exposure to the germ. Bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting are all symptoms consistent to E. coli infections. E. coli can cause a very serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS damages red blood cells, which can in turn damage the kidneys. This kidney damage could lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of E. coli poisoning, contact a medical professional.