Published : Monday, April 23, 2018 | 5:12 PM
If you have any romaine lettuce in the kitchen and you don’t know where it came from, don’t eat it. Throw it away before it makes you sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded its warning on tainted lettuce last week after an outbreak of E.Coli was reported across 16 states including California, making at least 53 people sick as of April 18, with 31 of them having been hospitalized.
Five of the people who have been taken to the hospital have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that could lead to lifelong complications and, in a few cases, even death. No fatalities have been reported from this outbreak to date, the CDC said.
CDC also advised restaurants and retailers not to serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region, the source of the contaminated lettuce.
“This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce,” the CDC said in a statement. “Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.”
The CDC said product labels often do not identify growing regions, so it would be better to throw out any lettuce if in doubt.
“If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away,” the statement said.
CDC issued the first romaine lettuce warning on April 10 after 17 people got sick in seven states. Over the last few weeks, the number of infected persons has continued to grow as the outbreak spread. This latest warning was issued after people at a correctional facility in Alaska became ill after eating romaine lettuce from Yuma.
Affected states are: California Arizona, Virginia, Missouri, Louisiana, Washington, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.
Symptoms of the infection could vary for each person, the CDC said, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high – less than 101?F or 38.5?C. Most people get better within five to seven days.
Most people with E. Coli infection start feeling sick three to four days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure.
For more information about the outbreak, visit the CDC E. Coli homepage, www.cdc.gov/ecoli/index.html.