Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce expands to 16 states

Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers | Investigation Notice: Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 ... - CDC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 53 people in 16 states have been sickened by the leafy green in the current outbreak.

More illnesses have been reported in connection with an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce.

The CDC is also putting restaurants on notice, telling all restaurants across the country to ensure their romaine lettuce does not come from the Yuma, Arizona, area and to confirm with their distributors that their lettuce products have not been grown in the area.

Five of the 31 hospitalized have developed kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

The agency was first alerted to the outbreak by health officials in New Jersey, who had noticed an increase in E. coli cases in the state, said Dr. Laura Gieraltowski, an epidemiologist at the C.D.C.

The CDC had previously reported cases in Idaho, Washington state, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Missouri, Virginia, and IL.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and abdominal pain.

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Illnesses that occurred after March 29, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported.

Those states are in addition to eleven other states including OH and Pennsylvania. The CDC was able to specify the outbreak down to chopped romaine using PulseNet, which catalogs samples of harmful bacterias from infected patients.

"If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it, and throw it away", the CDC instructs.

"It is unrealistic to expect consumers to figure out whether their romaine was produced in Arizona or somewhere else, especially when eating in a restaurant", says Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports.

They are advising people anywhere in the United States to toss their store-bought romaine lettuce in the trash, even if they've eaten some of it already and not gotten sick.

There have been no recalls of romaine lettuce so far since people began reporting illnesses related to E. coli.

Written by Nicole Chavez for CNN.

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