Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Romaine-linked E. coli outbreak reaches Nebraska

Romaine-linked E. coli outbreak reaches Nebraska

California still has the most cases, 39, followed by Pennsylvania (21); Minnesota (12); Idaho (11); New Jersey, Montana, Arizona, Alaska (eight each); Washington (seven); OH (six); NY and MI (five each); Georgia (four); Wisconsin, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Colorado (three each); Connecticut, Illinois, North Dakota (two each); Florida, Texas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia (one each). The CDC said Wednesday that April 16 was the last day romaine lettuce was harvested in the Yuma area.

"It takes two to three weeks between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC".

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Ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 29.

On April 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating an outbreak of E. coli which, according to the CDC website, was traced back to "whole heads of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region".

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The outbreak has been caused by a particularly virulent strain of E. coli O157:H7. Of 157 people with information available, 75 (48%) have been hospitalized, including 20 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. The website also noted that produce labels frequently do not indicate region of origin.

One person died in California. Numerous other illnesses are linked to chopped romaine lettuce. Most strains of E. coli are harmless and serve an important role in the digestive system.

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Talk to your health care provider if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department.

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