If you’re a regular consumer of romaine lettuce you may want to listen up because the latest outbreak of the E. Coli virus is linked to it and according to new reports, it has spread to four additional states.
Tainted romaine lettuce that is linked to a new outbreak of E. Coli reportedly originated in Yuma, Arizona according to CNN. Earlier this week, the CDC announced that Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas are the latest states to report E. Coli related illnesses after eating the contaminated lettuce. This brings the new total to 29 cases.
The CDC also reported 28 additional cases of illness, bringing the total to 149 since the outbreak began in March. Symptoms of the most recent illnesses reported began April 25. However, the CDC warned that due to a lag in reporting, any illness that occurred in the past two to three weeks may not have been counted in this update. Last week, the CDC announced that one person had died; the death, in California, was the first known fatality. Previously, the CDC warned that the strain of E. coli identified, O157:H7, is particularly virulent and known to be associated with higher hospitalization and complication rates.
Sixty-four people have been hospitalized, the CDC said, and 17 of those have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure that can be life-threatening, although most people recover in a few weeks. The US Food and Drug Administration said it received confirmation from the Arizona Department of Agriculture that romaine lettuce is no longer being grown or shipped from the Yuma area. But there is a 21-day shelf life for romaine, the agency says, so there might still be lettuce in the supply chain.
However, the agency confirmed that no other types of lettuce or any other growing region for romaine are involved in the outbreak. To explain the diverse geographical spread of this outbreak, the FDA said it is still investigating multiple points of origin and distribution. Last week, it identified Harrison Farms as the source of a single outbreak at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska, that sickened eight inmates.
If you have recently eaten romaine lettuce and aren’t sure if it came from any of the impacted states, the CDC gives a list of symptoms to look out for, they include: severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The recovery period for those who have been affected is roughly five to seven days.
The CDC further cautions potential lettuce consumers, stating “If you do not know if the lettuce in a salad mix is romaine, do not eat it.”
Check out today’s Top Stories here: