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1 In Maryland Sickened By E. Coli From Romaine Lettuce: CDC

Patch logo Patch 11/20/2018 Elizabeth Janney
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MARYLAND — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a multi-state E. Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, and Maryland is one of the states affected. In an alert issued Tuesday, the CDC said it is advising consumers in the U.S. not to eat any romaine lettuce and it is advising retailers and restaurants not to serve or sell romaine lettuce until the agency learns more information about the outbreak.

According to the CDC, 32 people in 11 states have been infected with E. Coli in the latest outbreak.

The E. Coli cases were reported in Maryland, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. Additionally, 18 people have become ill in two Canadian provinces.

At least 13 people were hospitalized and one person developed a type of kidney failure, according to federal health officials. No deaths have been reported. The illnesses started from Oct. 8 to Oct. 31.

Among the 32 confirmed E. Coli cases across the country related to the romaine outbreak, the CDC reports one person in Maryland has been sickened as of Tuesday, Nov. 20.

What To Do With Romaine

Those who have any type of romaine lettuce in their homes should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one got sick.

"Do not eat any romaine lettuce, because no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified," the CDC advised.

Here is additional guidance from the CDC regarding what to toss:

  • Throw out all types of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix and Caesar salad.
  • If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it; throw it away.
  • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine, the CDC said.

What Are E. Coli Symptoms?

E. Coli symptoms vary from person to person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting, according to the CDC. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high. Some infections are mild, while others may be severe or life-threatening.

The CDC warns that about 5-10 percent of people develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.

Most people become ill about three to four days after consuming something that contains the bacteria but illnesses can start anywhere between one and 10 days after exposure, the CDC says.

Here's the CDC's advice for those with symptoms of E. Coli:

  • Talk to your health care provider.
  • Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
  • Report your illness to the health department.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.

The current outbreak is not related to the most recent E. Coli outbreak that the agency said was over as of June 28.

By Feroze Dhanoa, Patch National Staff

Photo via Shutterstock.

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