Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Worsens With 31 More Sickened

US Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak quite relentless

The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) has not identified a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine lettuce through their investigation. The agency also said it had received 31 additional reports of people falling ill after eating the popular leafy green. Of the ill people, 42 have been hospitalized, among them nine people who experienced kidney failure.

Health officials say E. coli can cause diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. No deaths have been reported to date.

The worst hit states include Pennsylvania, with 18 cases, and California, with 13, according to the CDC. The agency expanded its warning from just chopped romaine to any and all forms of the lettuce - whole romaine, romaine in mixed salads, etc.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, they have to know exactly where the bacteria seeped in.

- Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, do not eat or buy romaine lettuce if you do not know where it was grown.

"We're on the paper trail, not onto the sampling yet", Cassell said.

"This bacteria can actually get inside the lettuce leaf", he said. If you have romaine lettuce at home and are not sure about where it was grown, the CDC recommends throwing it away immediately. Most sold in the US comes from Arizona in the winter but production there is wrapping up and now shifts to California. Sixty-four (96%) of 67 people interviewed reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. It applies to lettuce from the grocery store, and from take-out and restaurants.

Yuma is roughly 185 miles (298 kilometers) southwest of Phoenix and close to the California border. It is known for its agriculture and often revels in it with events like a lettuce festival. The outbreak came as the harvest of romaine was already near its end.

Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

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