Medicine

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

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

Idaho is the third most infected state behind California and Pennsylvania, with 11 reported cases, including three hospitalizations, as well as two reporting kidney failure, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

For now, the CDC still recommends avoiding romaine lettuce products unless you can be sure that they were not grown near Yuma, Arizona, and encourages grocers and restaurant owners to verify where their products are grown before allowing them for sale to the public.

The sweeping advisory came after information tied to some new illnesses prompted health officials to caution against eating all kinds of romaine lettuce that came from Yuma, where the outbreak began. There has also been one death recorded, in California, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People usually get sick from this strand of E. coli 2-8 days after ingesting the germ.

It develops within a week after E. coli symptoms first appear.

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Besides the death recorded in California, 17 patients have developed a risky form of kidney failure, the agency said. Most people recover in five to seven days with supportive treatment.

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.

Even if the person with symptoms does not recall eating any lettuce, if they develop symptoms of E. coli infection, it is important to stay hydrated and treat them seriously. Last week, it identified Harrison Farms as the source of a single outbreak at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska, that sickened eight inmates. The CDC warns consumers not to buy romaine unless they can verify the region of production.

The growing season at that farm has ended, and the shelf life of the lettuce from there has passed. Officials are unsure whether the lettuce is being contaminated in the fields, by handlers who harvest the crop, or somewhere in the packaging and shipping process.


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