This current outbreak is not related to the recent multi-state outbreak of E. coli that had been linked to leafy greens in December 2017. The first two cases in this outbreak involved people who reported becoming sick on March 13, according to the CDC. The outbreak has sickened at least 121 people in 25 states.
The CDC also added Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah to the states with reported cases. They identified Harrison Farms in Yuma, Arizona as the source of whole romaine heads that sickened eight people at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Facility in Nome, Alaska.
The agency has pinned the outbreak on contaminated romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region. It originated with romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, AZ, region. He said an outbreak of this size typically is easier to trace because there are more people providing clues to the origin of the pathogen. Numerous people sickened across the country consumed chopped lettuce that had been sold in bagged form to restaurants.
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"Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe", the CDC said.
The winter lettuce season in the Yuma area and the adjacent Imperial Valley in California is largely over, and no other growing region thus far has been linked to any illnesses. People who get sick from toxin-producing E. coli come down with symptoms about three to four days after swallowing the germ, with many suffering bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. The state has reported 24 illnesses linked to the outbreak, one of the highest totals in the country.
- Product labels often do not identify growing regions, so do not eat or buy romaine lettuce if you do not know where it was grown. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. Restaurants and retailers are also being advised to ask their suppliers about where their lettuce comes from. If you are unsure what type of lettuce is in your possession, it is best to throw it away.