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E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce: Here's what to know

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As an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce continues to spread, it’s important to learn more about the romaine lettuce in your vegetable crisper or in your restaurant salad.

The following information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

What to look out for

  • This outbreak has been linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region. The lettuce in question includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. No common supplier or grower has been found.
  • Check with restaurants and grocers on where their romaine lettuce is from. Do not eat the romaine lettuce if they do not know.
  • Packaging for romaine lettuce may not list where the vegetable comes from. Throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re unsure of its origin.

The stats

  • 84 people from 19 states have been infected. Florida has not reported anyone infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 as of April 24.
  • 42 people have been hospitalized, including nine who developed kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Think you’re sick?

  • People usually get sick from this strand of E. coli 2–8 days after ingesting the germ.
  • Symptoms include diarrhea that can be bloody, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.
  • Some people with this infection may develop a kidney failure type of hemolytic uremic syndrome. It develops within a week after E. coli symptoms first appear. Symptoms of kidney failure include decreased urination, tiredness, and loss of color in cheeks and inside lower eyelids. People who suspect they’ve developed kidney failure should go to the hospital.
  • Contact the CDC about a foodborne illness at 1-800-232-4636).

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