Romaine Lettuce Tainted with E. Coli Sickens 32 People in 11 States With Most Cases in California
Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning consumers not to eat romaine lettuce amid concerns over a new E. coli outbreak that has sickened 32 people in 11 states. According to a news report in USA Today, the CDC is asking consumers to throw away any romaine lettuce and instructing restaurants and retailers not to sell or serve it. The illnesses involving this outbreak started in October and have left at least 13 people hospitalized. At least one of them suffered kidney failure. So far, no deaths have been reported and no recalls have been issued at this point.
Majority of Cases Are in California
In addition to the U.S. cases, 18 people in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec have been sickened by the same strain of E. coli. Ten cases have been reported in California, the state with the highest number of sick people. Other states with reported cases include Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. People who have been sickened reported eating different types of romaine lettuce in restaurants and at home. A majority of the people got sick an average of three to four days after eating the contaminated lettuce, CDC officials said.
This food safety alert comes just two days before Thanksgiving. Officials are asking consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine lettuce. The agency is also saying that consumers should clean refrigerators where any lettuce has been stored. No common source for the contaminated lettuce has been identified, but federal health officials are investigating.
According to the CDC, the strain of E. coli had the “same DNA fingerprint” as another outbreak tied to leafy greens and romaine in the United States and Canada late last year. That outbreak killed one person and infected 25 people in total across 15 states. However, the outbreak is not related to an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from earlier this year, which killed five and sickened 210 in 36 states.
What to Do If You Have Been Sickened
Symptoms of an E. coli illness include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody, and vomiting. Up to 10 percent of patients can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, which is a potentially life-threatening complication that can lead to kidney failure. If you are experiencing symptoms of E. coli poisoning, it is important that you get medical attention and treatment right away.
If you have any of the tainted food remaining, isolate it so it can be tested for the presence of pathogens. Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer who can help you seek and obtain compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and hospitalization, as well as pain and suffering.