Majority of Victims in E. coli Outbreak Involving Romaine Lettuce Are Women
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked consumers to stop eating all romaine lettuce after an E. coli outbreak involving romaine lettuce produced in Arizona. Now, a USA Today report shows that 70 percent of those who have gotten sick as a result of this E. coli outbreak are women. This is not, however, the first time this type of trend has been observed.
Gender Disparity in Food-Borne Illnesses
Last year, when leafy greens were blamed for an E. coli outbreak, 67 percent of those infected were women or girls. Also, in 2016, 73 percent of those sickened from a food poisoning outbreak involving alfalfa sprouts were also female. This is likely because women’s diets tend to include more vegetables. A 2012 study of nearly 15,000 men and women published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, showed a higher rate of men ate meat compared to women who ate more fruits and vegetables. This might explain why men were more affected by a 2016 E. coli outbreak involving beef products.
Studies in the United Kingdom corroborate these findings. In that country, more women than men were sickened during a 2011 E. coli outbreak involving tainted cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes. So, women do tend to get disproportionately affected when it comes to food poisoning involving fruits and vegetables while men are more affected by outbreaks that involve meat. Experts say another factor is the difference between how men and women report their symptoms to medical professionals. While women are more likely to report symptoms, men are less likely to do so.
The E. coli outbreak related to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, has resulted in at least 53 illnesses and 31 hospitalizations over several states including California. The CDC has called on everyone to discard all types of romaine lettuce that originated in the Arizona area. If you have any at home, please do not consume it.
If you have been sickened by romaine lettuce, it might be a good idea to isolate and preserve the product so you can test it in a laboratory to determine the presence of any pathogens. Report your illness to the local healthcare agency, which tracks such illnesses. Get prompt medical attention, care and treatment and obtain the correct diagnosis. Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer to obtain more information about protecting your legal rights and options.