Romaine lettuce fingered as source of E

CDC investigating E. coli outbreak across 7 states

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration indicated a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157 is likely associated with chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

Thus far, the outbreak consists of 35 cases in 11 states: CT (2), Idaho (8), IL (1), MI (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), NY (2), OH (2), Pennsylvania (9), Virginia (1) and Washington (1), according to the FDA.

In addition, about 5 to 10 percent of people who are diagnosed with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome.

In a Tuesday, April 10 update, the CDC reports the outbreak had further reached the Midwest in OH and Pennsylvania.

"People have gotten infected by swallowing lake water while swimming, touching the environment in petting zoos and other animal exhibits, and by eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands well after using the toilet", according to the CDC.

"At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified", said the CDC in a statement.

"Some people may not be included in CDC's case count because no bacterial isolates are available for the DNA fingerprinting needed to link them to the outbreak".

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The people infected so far range in age from 12 to 84 years old.

"Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department", the agency said.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says E. coli infections are linked to lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.

And the CDC adds that restaurants should avoid buying and serving romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region. Romaine lettuce was the only ingredient involved in every salad reportedly consumed.

Health officials are investigating a Panera Bread in Phillipsburg, New Jersey after a cluster of E. coli illnesses were reported.

Investigators do know that many of those sickened ate the chopped romaine at restaurants in Idaho and other states. "Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting", according to the CDC. Affected lettuce has been consumed at restaurants and homes.

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