Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce

35 sick from E. Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce

Symptoms of E. coli infection are varied, but typically include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some people may have a low fever, less than 101°F/38.5°C. Most people infected with E. Coli 0157 are better within five to seven days.

Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

A small outbreak in a fast food restaurant with no lawsuits could cost about $4,000, but that number jumps to $1.9 million when more than 250 people get sick and some decide to sue the establishment. Twenty-six (93%) of 28 people interviewed reported consuming romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started.

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

The CDC is advising retailers and restaurants to stop selling chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma region, which is home to the annual Lettuce Festival and bills itself as the "winter lettuce capital". If you can not confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it. Throw away all chopped romaine lettuce, including salad mixes containing romaine. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. Some reported illnesses occurred after consumers ate lettuce from casual restaurants.

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Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce. There is no information to indicate that whole head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine are involved in this outbreak.

Over the weekend, stores such as Walmart, Sam's Club, and Giant Eagle issued recalls for romaine lettuce products, including those sold in the catering, restaurant, and salad bar areas.

At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified. The Produce Marketing Association, Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, United Fresh and Western Growers released a statement on the outbreak, and reassured consumers that almost all romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the U.S.is from the California growing areas. If you can not confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it. The Daily Meal has reached out to Chipotle and Just Salad to inquire whether they will continue to use and serve romaine lettuce in their meals.

Consumers who have symptoms of STEC infection should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. The CDC reports 69 percent of those infected are women, and that 22 have been hospitalized and three have suffered from a type of kidney failure.

The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections from November to December 2017 linked to leafy greens consumption.

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