The outbreak widened this week, and officials are now warning United States consumers to stay away from romaine lettuce - specifically chopped, store-bought romaine lettuce purchased either on its own or in a salad mix - until the outbreak is under control.
Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. The agency previously had advised consumers to avoid chopped romaine, salads and salad mixes that contained the lettuce.
The CDC says the hospitalization rate for this outbreak is higher than normal and officials are working to figure out why.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.
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Businesses have been told to ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce. On Tuesday, a 66-year-old woman in New Jersey filed a lawsuit in federal court against Panera Bread after claiming that she ate contaminated romaine lettuce there and then had to be hospitalized for two weeks.
Evidently, investigations revealed that the people who fell ill also got their sickness from eating romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region, just like the others who fell ill.
Pennsylvania has reported a dozen cases so far, the highest number of any state.
Alaskan authorities said none of the eight patients identified in the prison outbreak have been hospitalized and none have died. Of that group, five have developed a form of potentially life-threatening kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
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Follow basic rules for E. coli prevention, including lots of hand-washing and avoiding cross-food contamination.
Most people recover within 1 week.
Obviously, if you grow your own romaine lettuce or know exactly where it was grown (and it's not anywhere near Yuma, Arizona) feel free to continue to indulge in the leafy vegetable to your heart's content. According to the Alaska Department of Health, the state's eight E. coli cases were among inmates at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome.
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