Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce spreads to Minnesota

by Noah Mcgee May 10, 2018, 6:42
Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce spreads to Minnesota

The E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce has now left 149 people ill - almost half of whom battling the infection in hospitals across 29 states.

Since May 2, 2018, 28 more ill people have been reported, bringing the total to 149 ill people from 29 states. The ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years old. They live in both metro and greater Minnesota counties.

Three of these cases required hospitalization, and two developed a potentially fatal condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the department.

Several health officials have tied the outbreak to romaine lettuce in Yuma since most leafy greens are grown in this area during the winter, but officials say do not eat romaine lettuce unless there is a sticker attached to it from the grower and location. "The Yuma growing region includes part of western Arizona and extends into the Imperial Valley of southeastern California, but does not include Salinas Valley or other growing regions in California".

The romaine lettuce products we're selling on our shelves are not from the Yuma growing region.

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Symptoms of illness caused by E. coli O157 typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but with only a low-grade fever, or no fever, according to the health department.

"It's this continuous cycle of production, so it was eventually going to move out of the Yuma Valley into the next growing region", said Leiseth.

"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.

Ideally, investigators will be able to isolate the E. coli strain from the source and use DNA sequencing to match it with the people who got sick, said Critzer.

Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli - the kind involved in this outbreak - is so potent that the Department of Homeland Security even lists it as a potential agent of biological warfare. They were exposed to the E. Coli bacteria in restaurants, grocery stories, and in residences. The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clarkhave represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $650 million for clients. It may be because people in those states eat more romaine lettuce, or are eat out more frequently.

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