1st death linked to romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

1st death linked to romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

As of April 27, 2018, 98 people across 22 states have been infected with E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, and fortunately no deaths have now been reported.

Marler notes that, following a 2006 E. coli outbreak involving baby spinach that killed three people and sickened almost 200 others, the CDC made it a priority to be able to trace the origins of food-poisoning cases.

The CDC also added Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah to the states with reported cases.

If a product label doesn't identify the growing region or a restaurant can't confirm its lettuce's origin, consumers should avoid romaine altogether.

CDC believes that the outbreak may continue because of the time between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC. The CDC previously linked the romaine lettuce with Yuma, Arizona, though the agency still hasn't named a specific producer. Also, 14 of the sick people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, that can result in kidney transplants, other life-long health problems, and sometimes death.

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The most recent of the illnesses began on April 21. Many restaurants have removed their romaine lettuce products, even those that are not from the Yuma growing region as a precaution.

The bacteria normally live in the intestines of animals, including cows and pigs, and in the 1990s, most E. coli cases were associated with contaminated hamburger. However, the US Food and Drug Administration identified Harrison Farms in Yuma as the grower of the whole heads of romaine that caused illness in eight inmates at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska.

"If you do not know whether lettuce is romaine, do not eat it". However, the agency has not determined where in the supply chain the contamination occurred.

Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness. If you find yourself sick, write down what you've eaten, contact your doctor and report your illness to your local health department.

Symptoms of STEC infection include bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.

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