CDC warns of E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce
The recent outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce has prompted the U.S. Center for Disease Control to warn people not to eat any of the vegetable.
The multistate outbreak does not include Colorado, but there have been more than 30 reported cases of E. coli in 11 states, including California.
The CDC is currently investigating the source of the outbreak, but in the mean time the organization is warning consumers avoid the vegetable altogether. The CDC is advising those with romaine lettuce in their home to throw it out, even if someone has already eaten it and didn’t get sick. This includes all types of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine and bags or boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine.
When in doubt, toss it out
If you do not know whether the lettuce is romaine, or whether a salad mix contains romaine, that should be thrown away as well. The CDC is also advising that individuals wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored.
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In addition to consumers, the CDC is also asking restaurants and retailers not to serve or sell any romaine lettuce.
At least 32 people have been infected with the outbreak — a strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli — in 11 states. Illnesses have been recorded on dates ranging from Oct. 8 to Oct. 31. Thirteen people have been hospitalized, though no deaths have been reported. In addition to the United States, at least 18 individuals have been infected in two Canadian provinces, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Symptoms of E. coli infection typically manifest about three to four days after swallowing the germ, and can possibly include a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. The CDC is advising that anyone experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection should speak with their healthcare provider, write down what you ate in the week before you got sick, report your illness to the health department and assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.