CDC says nine more people added to E.coli infection investigation

Maricruz Casares
Diciembre 7, 2018

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned people last week to only purchase and consume romaine lettuce labeled as being from noncontaminated areas, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food spokesman Jack Wilbur said consumers in Utah can now be "fairly confident" that all lettuce they purchase is safe from the recent E. coli outbreak.

Illnesses were first reported on October 5.

No deaths have been reported in the outbreak, although 19 people have been hospitalized and two of those developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to the agency. So far they've implicated 10 different distributors, 12 different growers and 11 different farms as potential sources, which means they are not yet able to pinpoint a single source.They are collecting lettuce, soil and water samples for testing from farms and lettuce cooling facilities, but they say no E.coli has been found in any of the lettuce or soil samples. Even with that information, it's still the case that, "the outbreak can not be explained by a single farm, grower, harvester, or distributor".

"If the romaine lettuce is not labeled, do not buy, serve, sell, or eat it", the CDC said.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Evidence collected from the United States and Canada indicates that romaine lettuce harvested from the central coastal growing regions of northern and central California is a likely source of the outbreak, the agency added.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are also coordinating with U.S. agencies to investigate a similar outbreak there.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection, which usually begin about three or four days after consuming the bacteria, can include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC.

Some 52 cases have been reported of E. coli from Romaine lettuce in 15 states.

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