Two of the inmates have developed a type of renal failure – hemolytic uraemic syndrome – known to be associated with this specific type of bacteria, E. coli O157: H7.
The bacteria produce a toxin that causes symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, usually within several days after the starvation is swallowed. Usually this is resolved within a week, but sometimes it can get worse and last longer.
Maryland health officials are waiting to see if E. coli is contained in an unopened Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Chicken Caesar Salad package in a patient's home that is genetically related to the bacteria that cause the outbreak. While patients in Maryland report that they have eaten this particular brand, in other states they have not.
CDC recommends that people do not eat or sell this product with a "Best By" date of October 31st.
The Agency is still investigating to see if other products may be connected to the outbreak.