Coli Outbreak Blamed on Contaminated Lettuce Spreads to 16 States, CDC Says

Henrietta Strickland
April 19, 2018

Eighteen more people and five more states are now part of the investigation into an E. coli outbreak that the Centers for Disease Control says have sickened 53 people, including two in Mahoning County.

Illnesses include 12 cases in Pennsylvania, 10 cases in Idaho, seven cases in New Jersey, six cases in Montana, three cases in Arizona, two cases each in Connecticut, Michigan, New York and OH, and one case each in Alaska, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia and Washington.

On a positive note, no deaths have been reported.

"This is a higher hospitalization rate than usual for E. coli O157:H7 infections, which is normally around 30 percent", the CDC said in a statement.

The US Department of Agriculture said, "Fresh Foods Manufacturing Co., received notification from their romaine lettuce supplier that the romaine lettuce used by the establishment in the products was being recalled due to E. coli O157:H7 concerns. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting", according to the CDC. Most people recover in five to seven days.

Those states are in addition to eleven other states including OH and Pennsylvania.

Health officials had issued a warning for residents and restaurants about chopped romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona, area last week.

To keep yourself and your family safe, the CDC recommends avoiding any romaine lettuce products that could be contaminated.

Forty-one of 43 people interviewed by health officials reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. "At this time, ill people are not reporting whole heads or hearts of romaine". These complications are more common in young children under 5, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

Restaurants and retailers are also being urged not to serve or sell chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region and to check with suppliers about the source of their chopped lettuce. "If you can not confirm the source of the lettuce, do not buy or eat it", the CDC said.

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