CDC Warns of Nearly 140 E. Coli Infections in 25 States Linked with Contaminated Romaine Lettuce

Federal US Health Officials have confirmed, this week, at least 130 illnesses reported across 25 states connected with an E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce. 

Specifically, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 138 confirmed illnesses, at least so far; resulting in 72 hospitalizations so far.  Federal officials say they can trace the investigation back to a single, common grower of romaine lettuce located in Salinas, California. Of course, they also recommend consumers should avoid eating romaine lettuce originating from this region. As an extra precaution, health officials also warn against consuming any lettuce that does not have data on where it was harvested or if it had been grown indoors, etc.  

Obviously, those who may have already purchased these products are advised to throw it out or return it to place of purchase. 

Later in the week, the US Food and Drug Administration published an update indicating that investigators are still looking to find any definite factors that might have led to this farm contamination.  For now, the FDA says they will assess each grower’s ranch, taking samples from the soil as well as animal droppings, available compost, water, and other environmental sources. 

So far, Wisconsin has reported the most cases of illness, at 33. Pennsylvania has reported the second most, at 17; followed next by 12 cases in Ohio.  

E. coli is a bacterium that can infect the intestines of humans and animals.  For the most part, this organism is not dangerous but eating food that is contaminated by certain strains of the bacteria can result in mild to severe illness.  Symptoms of E. coil infection include fever, nausea, dehydration, and diarrhea.   However, thirteen of the cases reported in this particular outbreak have developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome.