Chopped Romaine Lettuce Linked to E. Coli Outbreak

Giant Eagle is recalling multiple items prepared with romaine lettuce after potential E. coli contamination

Giant Eagle is recalling multiple items prepared with romaine lettuce after potential E. coli contamination

Three of those patients developed a type of kidney failure associated with an E. coli illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be life-threatening.

If you are purchasing romaine lettuce, or have bought some recently, ask the retailers where it is from.

Fresh Food Manufacturing Co., based in Freedom, Pennsylvania, recalled 8,757 pounds of ready-to-eat salad after being notified by their lettuce supplier that it may be contaminated with E. Coli O157:H7, according to the USDA. Twenty-two of the ill individuals have been hospitalized.

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". The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. Most will get better within a week, but the symptoms can last longer and be severe. Cases of illness showing E. coli symptoms have been reported in Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

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Laura Gieraltowski, Ph.D. MPH, Foodborne Outbreak Response Team lead at the CDC, suspects there will be more cases reported in the days and weeks ahead, as illnesses that began after March 27 may not have been counted yet. However, preliminary information indicates that the chopped romaine lettuce was from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

Those who want to purchase romaine salad at grocery stores should first confirm that it was not grown in Yuma, Arizona, according to the CDC. If it is unclear from where the lettuce came from Yuma, do not purchase it, CDC suggested. Sixty-nine percent of ill people are female. Last year, an outbreak of 17 E. coli infections were reported in 13 states across the United States, all of which occurred from November 15, 2017 through December 8, 2017.

Most people can recover within a week but there is risk of more severe illnesses in young children below 5 years old, older adults and those who have weakened immune system.

States that have reported people infected with the E. coli strain include Washington, Idaho, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and MI.

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