E.coli in romaine lettuce prompts CDC warning to throw it out

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The CDC has not been able to identify a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine lettuce.

In the past two weeks, 35 people in the US have become ill and one person in the USA has died in the multi-state outbreak, according to Consumer Reports.

Montana epidemiologist Rachel Hinnenkamp said via email that those with symptoms of an E. coli infection should consult with their health care provider, “write down what you ate in the week before you became ill, report your illness to your local health department, and assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.”.

According to a CDC statement, "Information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick".

The Arizona Department of Health Services is advising residents to not eat and instead dispose of store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce.

The cases have been reported in Missoula, Flathead, Lincoln and Ravalli counties.

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Many people prefer romaine to iceberg lettuce, because the romaine has a lot less water and usually lasts much longer in the fridge.

People infected range in age from 12 to 84 years old with a median age of 29. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a total of 35 cases, including 22 hospitalizations, in 11 states.

If you're not sure if your romaine lettuce is safe here's some advice.

People generally get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E.coli around three to four days after ingesting the germ. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, decreased urination or presence of blood in the urine, seizures, fatigue, bleeding from the nose and mouth, pallor, abdominal pain, vomiting, swelling, high blood pressure, and fever.

- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

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