Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Romaine lettuce outbreak sickens Floridians, Georgians

Romaine lettuce outbreak sickens Floridians, Georgians

Most of the illnesses in the outbreak are not linked to the romaine lettuce grown at that farm.

While the death count associated with the outbreak remains at one, the CDC has linked 149 illnesses in 29 states to the outbreak, which has been traced back to lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, area. The most recent E. coli outbreak has already made 121 sick and killed one (in California) across 25 states.

Public health officials have still not figured out exactly which farm or farms the lettuce came from.

The geographic disparity in the clusters has helped confound officials in tracking the source of the outbreak deeper than the Yuma region.

Symptoms of E.coli O157 can include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but typically there is no fever involved.

Since the CDC's last update on May 2, the outbreak has spread to four new states including Minnesota, Florida, North Dakota and Texas.

One person has died.

The greens that you see on the shelves now, are from other growing regions and are safe to eat. Even though the FDA confirmed that romaine lettuce from the Yuma region is no longer being distributed, it might still be in the supply chain. The largest American E. coli flare-up since 2006, when contaminated spinach was the culprit, is expected to continue for several weeks. Most people recover in five to 10 days.

Bare shelves in a Richland, Wash., grocery store on April 16 after packages of romaine lettuce were voluntarily pulled.

Besides the death recorded in California, 17 patients have developed a unsafe form of kidney failure, the agency said.

Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli O157 infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli O157 infection is ruled out.

Minnesota Tuesday reported it has illnesses with onset dates in May, which points to an outbreak that is still growing.

The CDC's warning not to eat romaine lettuce unless it's known to not be from Yuma is still in effect but Yuma's growing season has ended and California is the growing region for the summer. 64 people out of 112 with available information have been hospitalized, and 17 of those people have developed kidney failure.

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