Texas now linked to Romaine Lettuce poisoning outbreak

Texas now linked to Romaine Lettuce poisoning outbreak

Texas now linked to Romaine Lettuce poisoning outbreak

A major outbreak in the USA of E. coli linked to Arizona-grown Romaine lettuce is now affecting 29 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Three were hospitalized, and two developed a potentially fatal complication that can include kidney failure and other severe problems. To date, New Jersey has eight cases - an increase of one from the last CDC update - NY has four (an increase of two) and CT has two.

Minnesota Tuesday reported it has illnesses with onset dates in May, which points to an outbreak that is still growing. Studies show that the E. coli bacteria can apparently enter the lettuce leaf, which cannot be removed simply by washing. The sick people range in age from 1 to 88 with a median age of 30.

Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the US during the winter.

Of the 149 people who became ill, 102 of them reported eating romaine lettuce in the weeks leading up to their illness, according to the CDC report.

Most of the illnesses in this outbreak are not linked to romaine lettuce from this farm, and are associated with chopped romaine lettuce.

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The CDC said four more states - Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas - have been hit by the outbreak, bringing the total number of affected states to 29.

Symptoms of E. coli infection typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, or bloody stool. There has also been one death recorded, in California, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said the individual reported being sick in early April. The E. Coli issue involves whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

All of the lettuce in question from this farm was harvested during March 5-16 and is past its 21-day shelf life.

The last time E. coli made headlines was back in 2006, but the latest wave of infections is supposedly even worse, which calls for the public to be well-informed to help keep it from spreading.

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