April 20, 2018: UPDATE: As of today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding its warning to cover ALL types of romaine from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region, including whole heads and hearts of romaine in addition to chopped romaine from that area. Also, the number of cases in Idaho has increased to 10. More details here.
Public health officials in Idaho are investigating an outbreak of E. coli infections that are linked to a national outbreak affecting at least 10 other states.
At this time, eight Idaho residents have become sick with E. coli infections. All eight people who have become ill report eating romaine lettuce in the 10 days prior to becoming ill. Three individuals were hospitalized, and two have developed kidney failure linked to the E. coli infection. All hospitalized individuals were adults between the ages of 20 and 55. No deaths have been linked to this outbreak.
Initial investigations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health officials in affected states indicate that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region, could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and causing illness. No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified yet.
The chopped romaine lettuce has been consumed at restaurants and at people’s homes. As the investigation continues, public health officials at the CDC and Idaho are advising against eating pre-chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region until further information is known.
Public health officials in the Idaho Division of Public Health and multiple Idaho public health districts are continuing to work with the Food and Drug Administration and CDC to investigate the cause of the illnesses. Pre-chopped romaine lettuce is sold in restaurants, delis, supermarkets, and specialty food stores throughout Idaho. Public health officials advise people who have pre-chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma or an unknown source to throw it out, even if they have previously consumed the romaine without becoming ill.
E. coli O157:H7 is a type of bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps, vomiting and low-grade fever.
Most people recover from E. coli O157:H7 infection in five to seven days, but for some the infection can be severe and life-threatening, especially for very young children and the elderly. Anyone who has recently consumed pre-chopped romaine lettuce and has diarrhea and severe abdominal cramps should seek medical attention.
For more information, visit the CDC website.
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