Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Minnesota illnesses linked to national E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce

To view a larger version of this map please click on the image To view a larger version of this map please click on the image
Jordan Brady | 10 May, 2018, 14:37

Texas is one of four new states to report illnesses during the outbreak.

The illnesses set in between April 20 and May 2, and were from metro and greater Minnesota counties.

Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas have joined the list of states reporting at least one E. coli illness linked to the outbreak.

Sixty-four people out of 129 with available information have been hospitalized, including 17 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

So far, 25 states are affected by the outbreak, which already resulted in 52 hospitalizations.

According to the CDC, 102 of the 149 people reported eating romaine lettuce prior to becoming sick.

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The problem stems from bacteria-tainted romaine lettuce grown near Yuma, Ariz. The first deathrelated to the outbreak was reported in California last week. The E. Coli issue involves whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine. The agency is examining all possibilities, including that contamination may have occurred at any point along the growing, harvesting, packaging, and distribution chain before reaching the Alaska correctional facility where it was served.

The CDC said romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region appears to be responsible.

Romaine lettuce has a 21-day shelf life, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Restaurants and retailers are told to ask their suppliers about the source of the lettuce.

Consumers are advised to not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless they can confirm it wasn't grown in the Yuma, Arizona region. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. People typically become ill two to five days after exposure, but this period can range from one to eight days.

Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe. Those most at risk of developing complications from E. coli O157 include children younger than 10, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

"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", the CDC said.

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