Coli Outbreak Linked to Lettuce Takes Its First Life

Riley Steinbrenner  The Badger Herald

Riley Steinbrenner The Badger Herald

This outbreak's Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7 has sickened 121 people in 25 states, with Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah discovering their first cases since Friday.

The current E. coli outbreak is the worst multistate outbreak since 2006. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. Of those, at least 14 have developed kidney failure. More cases are expected.

The only falling numbers in the outbreak belong to the percentage hospitalized. "I mean, candidly, that's ridiculous", Marler said. In fact, the multiplier for this illness is just 2, which means that half of the people who get sick do see a doctor.

One farm in Yuma, Arizona has been identified so far as supplying the whole-head lettuce linked to a cluster of E. coli cases among prisoners in Nome, Alaska.

Investigators from the Food and Drug Administration have not yet determined where the vast majority of the suspect romaine was grown. By this point in the year, lettuce production has shifted to central California. This includes includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.

Romaine lettuce is displayed on a shelf at a supermarket in San Rafael on April 23, 2018.

"Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region". It is safe to consume romaine lettuce that originates from other regions, however.

The case count by state is: Alaska (8), Arizona (8), California (24), Colorado (2), CT (2), Georgia (4), Idaho (11), IL (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), MA (2), MI (4), MS (1), Missouri (1), Montana (8), New Jersey (7), NY (2), OH (3), Pennsylvania (20), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), Virginia (1), Washington (6), and Wisconsin (1). The outbreak began on March 13, and the most recently confirmed case took place on April 21.

According to the CDC, most people who become infected with E. coli start showing symptoms about two to eight days after first ingesting it, with the average being three to four days.

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