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E.Coli outbreak in romaine lettuce affects 22 states

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Samantha Lokey, Health Editor

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As of May 9, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a total of 149 cases of E.Coli in romaine lettuce across 29 states in the U.S. In their initial announcement, 17 people had been infected by the strain. It was then considered an outbreak. The first to fall ill is believed to have been infected from March 22 to March 31.

In the weeks since more and more have been affected by the disease, and many cases may not even be on record. One death in California has occurred (CDC).

The strain identified, O157:H7, puts those infected at a higher risk for hospitalization. “64 people have been hospitalized, and 17 of those have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome,” reported msn.com. A syndrome is a form of kidney failure which, while life-threatening, most patients will recover from.

For the time being, the CDC is advising consumers to not purchase or consume any form of romaine lettuce (whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, salads, and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce) unless they are able to confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region, the area to which the outbreak has been traced. Unfortunately, the most packaging does not identify the region in which the product was grown. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported they received confirmation that the Yuma growing region is no longer producing, packaging, or shipping any lettuce, although the lettuce has a 21-day shelf life, so it is best to remain cautious. The investigation is still ongoing as to where exactly the outbreak began.

It may take three to four days for one to begin showing signs of being infected with E.Coli. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. If you believe you or someone you know may be infected with E.Coli, seek immediate medical treatment.

Photo Courtesy of qz.com

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E.Coli outbreak in romaine lettuce affects 22 states