On November 20, the CDC announced a new E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. To date, there are 52 cases across 15 states. 19 people have been hospitalized. The CDC is recommending consumers dispose of all romaine products. The investigation is ongoing.
UPDATE: CDC warning extended to all romaine (whole and chopped) grown in Yuma, Arizona
As of May 16, 2018, 172 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 26 states. Alaska 8, Arizona 8, California 39, Colorado 3, Connecticut 2, Florida 1, Georgia 4, Idaho 11, Illinois 2, Iowa 1, Louisiana 1, Massachusetts 3, Michigan 5, Minnesota 12, Missouri 1, Montana 8, Nebraska 1, New Jersey 8, New York 5, North Dakota 2, Ohio 6, Oregon 1, Pennsylvania 21, South Dakota 1, Tennessee 3, Texas 1, Utah 1, Virginia 1, Washington 7, and Wisconsin 3. (CDC report).
Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018 to May 2, 2018. Ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 29. Sixty-five percent of ill people are female. Seventy-five ill people have been hospitalized, including twenty people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. One death has been reported from California.
Illnesses that occurred after April 21, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to three weeks.
Information collected to date indicates that romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick.
The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to leafy greens. People in the previous outbreak were infected with a different DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
Symptoms of E. coli include:
· Severe abdominal cramping
· Loss of appetite
· Diarrhea (often bloody)
If you start to experience symptoms, seek medical attention and contact your local health department immediately.