Romaine lettuce to blame for E. coli outbreak in 11 states

Romaine lettuce to blame for E. coli outbreak in 11 states

About 5 to 10% of people diagnosed with this illness develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.

Although none of the confirmed E. coli cases have yet been linked to Fresh Foods, the company is concerned that its romaine supplier may have been involved in the outbreak.

The CDC said Friday that 35 people across 11 states have become ill from chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma.

The CDC reports that early information points to chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region as the potential culprit.

Epidemiologic evidence collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce is the likely source of this outbreak. "This takes an average of two to three weeks".

The federal response to this outbreak stands in contrast to the E. coli outbreak this past winter, when investigators at the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration did not make definitive consumer recommendations. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.

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"Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick", the CDC said. Cases of illness showing E. coli symptoms have been reported in Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. "Anyone experiencing symptoms of this illness should see a healthcare provider".

In addition, the agency recommends asking grocery stores and restaurants to confirm their chopped romaine is not from Yuma. Sixty-nine percent of ill people are female.

Any lettuce that came from that area (and there's a LOT!) has been pulled from shelves, people are urged to dispose of any recently purchased from the store that originated in that region.

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections vary, but usually include severe and painful stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. The damaged red blood cells clog the filtering system of the kidney, which can lead to life-threatening kidney failure.

One of those people added to the infected list in the CDC's most recent update is a MI resident.

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