E. coli infections in 11 states linked to chopped Romaine lettuce


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have announced that chopped, bagged romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz. region may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick.

No common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has been identified yet.

The agencies advised consumers to avoid eating chopped, bagged romaine lettuce from Yuma. Other forms of romaine, including hearts or whole heads, are not part of the advisory. Nor is romaine lettuce from Florida implicated in the outbreak.

Safe production and handling of crops is the top priority for growers of Florida produce. They adhere to the highest mandatory food safety standards, procedures and safeguards to ensure Florida produce is safe, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association officials said in a statement Monday.

There are 35 cases in 11 states: Connecticut (2), Idaho (8), Illinois (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (9), Virginia (1) and Washington (1). The 35 illnesses occurred in the time period of March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018, the FDA said.

Twenty-two people have been hospitalized, including three people who have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

No deaths have been reported.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to leafy greens. People in the previous outbreak were infected with a different DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

Here’s the CDC’s advice to consumers:

•Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

•Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.

What symptoms do infected people experience?

•People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli within 2-8 days after swallowing the germ.

•Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

•Most people recover within one week. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

•HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in young children under 5 years, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

•Symptoms of HUS can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination.

•People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

•E. coli infection is usually diagnosed by testing a stool sample.



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