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article imageE. coli outbreak across 11 states linked to chopped romaine

By Karen Graham     Apr 14, 2018 in Health
Chopped romaine lettuce has been linked to dozens of cases of E. coli in 11 states and anyone who has the leafy green in their refrigerator is told to throw it away immediately, health officials said Friday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has been identified as the source of the multi-state outbreak.
However, information collected by the CDC and public health officials from individual states to date indicates the chopped romaine lettuce came from the Yuma, Arizona growing region and that it is possibly contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick.
As of April 13, 2018, thirty-five people in 11 states have been sickened and 22 of those patients were so severely ill, they had to be hospitalized, the CDC said. Three of them developed a type of kidney failure associated with this strain of E. coli. No deaths have been reported.
The states where cases have been reported are: Pennsylvania (9); Idaho (8); New Jersey (7); Connecticut (2); New York (2); Ohio (2); Virginia (1); Washington (1); Missouri (1); Michigan (1); and Illinois (1). All these people got sick between March 22 and March 31, and range in age from 12 to 84 years old.
"Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten," the agency said, explaining its probe into the illnesses. "The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. At this time, ill people are not reporting whole heads or hearts of romaine."
Warning from CDC over chopped romaine
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 can't get confirmation, don't buy it or eat it.
The number of cases is expected to grow because it takes on average one to two weeks for symptoms to show up after eating the contaminated food product. And while most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can cause serious illness. The strain associated with this warning is a Shinga toxin-producing E. coli, which can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, the CDC said.
If diarrhea lasts more than 3 days or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool or so much vomiting that the patient cannot keep down liquids, a doctor must be called, the agency said.
More about foodborne illness, E coli, Romaine lettuce, 11 states, CDC
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