Deadly E. coli outbreak tied to romaine spreads

10 Minnesotans Have Gotten Sick In E. Coli Outbreak
E. coli outbreak reaches Minnesota, with 10 cases reported

10 May, 2018

One person has died in California, and 64 people have been hospitalized. The sick people range in age from 1 to 88 with a median age of 30.

Public health officials in the affected states were investigating the outbreak.

Cell death triggers the body to send red blood cells to the kidneys, causing clots and kidney failure.

Product from the Yuma growing region should no longer be on sale; however, individuals should check their refrigerators for romaine lettuce that may have been grown in the Yuma region. Romaine lettuce has a shelf life of several weeks, and contaminated lettuce could still be in homes, stores, and restaurants.

Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the US during the winter. However, the CDC warned that due to a lag in reporting, any illness that occurred in the past two to three weeks may not have been counted in this update. "This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people, in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed". This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.

Ideally, investigators will be able to isolate the E. coli strain from the source and use DNA sequencing to match it with the people who got sick, said Critzer.

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Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli O157 infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli O157 infection is ruled out.

The bacteria can spread through ruminants, animals like cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, elk, and deer; water; the environment and people, Dr. Robert Tauxe, director of CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, said previously.

The CDC continues to track the progress of the outbreak, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempts to sleuth out its source.

Federal officials first warned of the problem in April after people started getting sick from greens they ate March 22 to 31.

Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli - the kind involved in this outbreak - is so potent that the Department of Homeland Security even lists it as a potential agent of biological warfare. Cattle wandered into the stream and wild pigs were found running back and forth.

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