CDC: E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce continues to spread

On May 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared its latest update on the romaine lettuce outbreak, adding additional victims and states to the existing list.

Consumers are still being advised not to eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm that it did not come from the Yuma growing region.

Health officials say that they are investigating the issue to get to the bottom of it and to finally determine if the contaminated romaine lettuce is in the Canadian market - if yes, Canadian Food Inspection Agency will recall the product as required.

The most recent illness started on April 25, said the CDC, noting that illnesses since then may not have been reported yet to the agency. Sixty-four people have been hospitalized and one person in California has died.

Symptoms of E. coli typically begin three to four days after the bacteria is ingested. At this rate, the E. coli outbreak is expected to worsen overtime.

Besides the death recorded in California, 17 patients have developed a unsafe form of kidney failure, the agency said.

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This strain of E. coli produces a toxin that causes vomiting and diarrhea and potentially other severe symptoms, including in some cases kidney failure.

One farm was found by the Food and Drug Administration to be the source of the whole-head romaine lettuce that sickened several people at a correctional facility in Alaska.

Most people recover within the first week, according to the CDC, but some infections can be severe.

The growing season at that farm has ended, and the shelf life of the lettuce from there has passed.

Officials say other area farms could also be affected since numerous E. coli poisoning cases can be traced to chopped lettuce sold in bagged form to restaurants that didn't come from that Yuma farm.

People who believe they've contracted a foodborne illness should contact the CDC at 1-800-232-4636.

  • Myrtle Hill