Medicine

MI included in multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated romaine

MI included in multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated romaine

The CDC says that so far none of the E. coli cases have been linked to heads of romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine, only chopped romaine.

People typically get sick three to four days after eating contaminated food, according to the CDC.

That's similar to the recall Freshway made during the 2010 romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak after an unopened product sample tested positive for E. coli. The CDC advises anyone with these symptoms to seek medical attention as E. coli infection is typically diagnosed via a stool sample.

State and local public health agencies are investigating several reports of E. coli O157 illnesses likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. While no deaths related to the outbreak have been reported, symptoms of E. coli can present as diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

The outbreak is the same potentially deadly strain of E. coli, 0157:H7, that occurred late past year in the USA and Canada, but the CDC does not believe it is connected with the earlier outbreak.

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CDC urged people to check the origin of the romaine lettuce before buying it at a grocery store or ordering it at a restaurant. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

Health officials are urging people not to eat any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce or salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce they may have at home.

According to the lawsuit, the salad Fraser ate at Panera Bread on March 20 included Freshway-supplied romaine lettuce from the Yuma region.

Consumer Reports said it would be hard for buyers to tell where the romaine was grown, which is why they are saying consumers should avoid romaine altogether until the threat passes.

"We're finding a common relationship and that people have all eaten a specific type of lettuce so not all types of lettuce, but romaine lettuce", said Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. A woman who was sickened with E. coli after eating a salad at Panera has filed a lawsuit against Panera and its lettuce supplier, Freshway Foods.


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