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Deadly E. coli Outbreak

posted May 10, 2018, 6:57 AM by PHS Warrior Beat

By: Alexis Cullen

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   E. coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and other animals, where it usually causes no harm. Some strains can cause severe food poisoning, especially in old people and children.

   The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday, an outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region has spread to four additional states.  Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas are the latest states to report illnesses, bringing the total to 29.

   The CDC also reported that 28 additional cases of illness, bringing the total to 149 since the outbreak began in March.

   Last week, the CDC announced that one person had died; the death, in California, was the first known fatality.

   It was recently stated by the CDC that 64 people have been hospitalized and 17 of those people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a form of kidney failure that can be life-threatening, although most people recover in a few weeks.

   According to CNN, symptoms of E. coli begin on average three to four days after the bacteria are consumed. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover in five to seven days with supportive treatment.

   The US Food and Drug Administration said it received confirmation from the Arizona Department of Agriculture that romaine lettuce is no longer being grown or shipped from the Yuma area. But there is a 21-day shelf life for romaine, the agency says, so there might still be lettuce in the supply chain.

   The FDA is still investigating multiple points of origin and distribution. Last week, it identified Harrison Farms as the source of a single outbreak at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska, that sickened eight inmates.

   Because labels on romaine lettuce do not often list growing regions, it can be difficult for a consumer to tell whether the lettuce they are purchasing is part of the outbreak.

   The CDC warns consumers not to buy romaine lettuce unless they can verify the region of production.

Uploaded: 5/9/18

Edited by: CQ

Sources: https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/09/health/romaine-e-coli-outbreak-spreads/index.html