E Coli Outbreak Empties Romaine Lettuce off Tri-City Shelves

E Coli Outbreak Empties Romaine Lettuce off Tri-City Shelves

- Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.

In the past two weeks, 35 people in the US have become ill and one person in the USA has died in the multi-state outbreak, according to Consumer Reports.

Laura Gieraltowski, Ph.D., M.P.H., who leads the Foodborne Outbreak Response Team at the CDC, predicts there will be more reports of illness in the days and weeks ahead.

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services is investigating several reports of E. coli among western Montana residents that are likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., area.

If you've bought lettuce lately throw it out, chances are it will make you sick.

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Panera bread says they have begun getting shipments of romaine lettuce from a different provider, after a warning from the Centers for Disease Control regarding a possible E. coli contamination in romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region.

CDC also said the number of cases may increase "due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported".

"Individuals with this infection usually get better within about 5 to 7 days, however some illnesses can be serious or even life-threatening", Dr. Shereef Elnahal, commissioner of the state Department of Health, said in a statement. Ill people range in age from 12 to 84 years, with a median age of 29. Most people with a E. coli O157 infection start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. "If you or someone from your family recently ate store-bought chopped romaine lettuce and are experiencing symptoms, please seek medical treatment immediately". Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

The CDC reports that early information points to chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region as the potential culprit. Some of its types are pathogenic that can cause illness through exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with animals or other people.

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