Public Health Officials: E. coli Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuce from Arizona

CDC E coli case count map

Twenty-six of 28 or 93 percent of people interviewed after becoming ill reported eating chopped romaine lettuce the week before they became sick. Six people have been hospitalized, including one who developed severe kidney failure. PulseNet, the national subtyping network, has linked 6 cases in New Jersey to the multistate outbreak.

The department says that the infected lettuce had been consumed both in homes and at restaurants.

Chopped romaine lettuce has been linked to dozens of cases of E. coli and anyone who has the leafy green in their refrigerator is told to throw it away immediately, health officials said Friday (April 13).

The CDC and the FDA are also advising people that before they eat lettuce from a restaurant to confirm that the product used to prepare the meal is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

At least eight people were taken ill in Idaho and eight in Pennsylvania, the CDC said.

As of Saturday, there were no news releases on the Panera Bread corporate website mentioning the CDC concerns over chopped romaine lettuce.

A nationwide E. coli outbreak has now spread to 11 states, with 35 total reported cases. In that instance, 25 people were sickened and one person died.

The CDC didn't identify a grower or provider, but it recommends throwing away chopped romaine lettuce from the region and not buying any without knowing its origin.

The particular strain of E. coli involved in this outbreak can cause bad stomach cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The site said there are nine salad factories that produce bagged lettuce and salad mixes and process over 2 million pounds of lettuce per day.

Children younger than 5, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Earlier this week researchers in Canada published a study on a patch that could alert consumers to the presence of potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

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