Officials are investigating the cause of the outbreak and are warning people to avoid eating romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ region. Of the people sickened, 52 have been hospitalized, 14 of them with kidney failure.
So far, infections associated with the outbreak have been detected in states all around country, with the most cases appearing in California, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, and Montana. This is why the percentage of those requiring hospitalization is higher than what is typically seen with E. coli outbreaks, where, on average, only 30% of individuals end up in the hospital. With the numbers ratcheting up every week, this outbreak is approaching the scale of the 2006 baby spinach E. coli outbreak, in which 205 people became sick and five of them died.
The major symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, and severe stomach cramps. The total of people who have taken ill from lettuce is now at 120 people in 25 states. There has been surprisingly little information, to date, on other implicated farms or distributors. "I mean, candidly, that's ridiculous". For example, lettuces-or any other produce-can become contaminated if irrigation water becomes contaminated with runoff from cattle farms upstream.More news: Police release bodycam video in Las Vegas shooting
But the CDC continues to emphasize that consumers should confirm that any lettuce they buy or eat did not originate in the Yuma region. Numerous people sickened across the country consumed chopped lettuce that had been sold in bagged form to restaurants. In the most recent update, the FDA says that the agency has not been able to determine where in the supply chain contamination of the lettuce occurred.