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Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce

Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce

Amid the outbreak, CDC continues to warn consumers to avoid consuming store-bought chopped romaine over concerns they may have purchased contaminated lettuce.

The latest multistate outbreak of E. coli has sickened 35 people, including seven in New Jersey and nine in Pennsylvania.

Laura Gieraltowski, Ph.D., M.P.H., who leads the Foodborne Outbreak Response Team at the CDC, predicts there will be more reports of illness in the days and weeks ahead. The following Monday, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) announced three confirmed and four pending cases were likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, bringing the nationwide total to at least 45 cases.

Romaine lettuce, it's great for Cesar salad, it's also a nice addition to tacos and sandwiches, but during your next trip to the grocery store you may want to cross that item off your list.

CDC also said the number of cases may increase "due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported".

In the warning, CDC officials said people who have purchased chopped romaine lettuce from stores "should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick".

Officials said laboratory testing confirms three cases are linked to a multi-state outbreak and four more are suspected while further testing is pending. Most will get better within a week, but the symptoms can last longer and be severe.

People infected range in age from 12 to 84 years old with a median age of 29. 22 ill people have been admitted to hospital and three people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and abdominal pain.