1st death from romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

05 May, 2018, 01:19 | Author: Hope Soto
  • Factfile explaining where E. coli bacteria are found how infection spreads and how it can be avoided

Everyone is being urged not to consume romaine lettuce unless it is verified NOT to be from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

The number of people hospitalized because of the tainted romaine is higher than usual.

There have been 121 cases in all - 52 hospitalizations and now the outbreak has touched 25 states.

The CDC update on Friday that three more states such as Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Utah were added to the outbreak map.

USA residents now infected with the outbreak strain of E.coli O157:H7, in romaine lettuce, has increased with numbers now totaling 121 cases spread throughout 25 states with about 52 of those cases resulting in hospitalizations and one death in California. Symptoms, which typically arise within two to eight days of consuming the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, include diarrhea, which may be bloody; severe stomach cramps; and vomiting.

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Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer who has been involved in food-borne illness lawsuits for decades, said it's striking that federal investigators still have not explained how, when and where the bacteria contaminated the romaine and spread to so many people and places.

However, the FDA is still working on identifying additional sources responsible for the outbreak. Reforms in the livestock industry have sharply reduced the number of outbreaks involving meat, but that has been offset by a surge in E. coli contamination of leafy greens. "I mean, candidly, that's ridiculous", Marler said. The CDC advised restaurants and consumers to avoid romaine unless they confirm it was grown in a different region.

California now leads the nation with 24 cases, followed by Pennsylvania with 20 and Idaho with 11.

"If you do not know if the lettuce in a salad mix is romaine, do not eat it", the CDC warns.

The last illness reported began on April 25. Romaine lettuce now in our stores, including romaine used in deli items, is not from the Yuma region but, rather comes from other growing regions.

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