E. Coli outbreak hits Texas amid reports of illness from romaine lettuce

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

Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Texas have been added to the list of states affected by the contaminated lettuce, which already included 25 other states. However, some of the "new" cases are illnesses that happened earlier - back in March or early April - but are only now being reported. However, the CDC warned that due to a lag in reporting, any illness that occurred in the past two to three weeks may not have been counted in this update. One death from California has been reported. Of the 129 patients the CDC has information on, half have been hospitalized.

This is the biggest Shiga-toxin producing E. coli outbreak since a 2006 outbreak linked to spinach grown in the Salinas Valley in California, Wise said. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Most people recover in five to seven days with supportive treatment.

The CDC has cautioned against the use of antibiotics to treat the illness because studies have linked antibiotic use with an increased risk for hemolytic uremic syndrome in both children and adults.

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Officials say other area farms could also be affected since numerous E. coli poisoning cases can be traced to chopped lettuce sold in bagged form to restaurants that didn't come from that Yuma farm.

One person died. Health officials said the tainted lettuce was grown in Yuma, Arizona.

"If it is determined that contaminated romaine lettuce is in the Canadian market, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product as required", said PHAC.

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The outbreak has proved to be a complicated case for federal investigators. Last week, it identified Harrison Farms as the source of a single outbreak at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska, that sickened eight inmates. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), romaine lettuce has a shelf life of 21 days. Therefore, it is not being sold or served anymore.

Chapman pointed out that the outbreak's connection to romaine lettuce from Yuma was first announced on April 13.

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