Two of the hospitals developed a type of kidney failure – hemolytic uremic syndrome – known to be associated with this particular type of bacteria, E. coli O157: H7.
Bacteria produce a poison that causes symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, usually within a few days of swallowing the bug. Usually, it resolves within a week, but sometimes it can get worse and last longer.
Maryland health officials are waiting to see if E. coli was found in an unopened package of the Pac Pac Bistro Bowl Chicken Caesar Salad in a patient's home. is genetically associated with the bacteria that causes the outbreak. While patients in the Maryland report eat this particular brand, those in other states do not.
The CDC recommends not eating or selling this particular product on a "Best By" date of October 31.
The agency is still investigating to see if other products may be connected to outbreak.