Coli Outbreak Linked to Lettuce Takes Its First Life

Riley Steinbrenner  The Badger Herald

Riley Steinbrenner The Badger Herald

The CDC announced the outbreak on April 10, and has since warned consumers not to eat the leafy green unless they can definitively determine that it was not grown in or near Yuma. Of those, at least 14 have developed kidney failure.

Once a case is reported, protocol calls for the patient to be admitted to a hospital where the state's Laboratory of Hygiene gathers an isolate of - in this case - the E. coli bacteria.

"The difficulty with figuring out exactly where this came from is how especially this romaine lettuce is handled", Borger said.

Coming into contract with E. coli could also lead to more severe illnesses, specifically in children and the elderly.

Produce caused almost half of all food-borne illness in the US each year and leafy greens lead to 25% of all food poisoning cases annually, the CDC says. Symptoms include bloody and watery diarrhea, and serious and painful abdominal cramps.

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Peter Cassell at the US Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety division says the agency is investigating the source of the illnesses in the other states.

Federal health officials on Wednesday confirmed the first death caused by an outbreak of food poisoning linked to romaine lettuce grown in Arizona.

In one week, 16 people in California have gotten ill from eating romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli. CDC's warning applies to whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.

But what does an E. coli outbreak really mean? HUS generally develops about 7 days after symptoms start and is most common in children under 5 years of age, adults aged 65 years and older, and individuals who are immunocompromised. Signs of HUS include fatigue, decreased frequency of urination, and a loss of the normally pink color in the cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli O157:H7 infection or HUS, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900.

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