Minnesota illnesses linked to national E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce

Frederick Owens
May 10, 2018

Ten cases of E. coli infection have now been reported in Minnesota and is now linked to the multi-state outbreak. The outbreak has caused 64 hospitalizations, and 17 of those who were hospitalized developed a type of kidney failure.

"Most of the illnesses in this outbreak are not linked to romaine lettuce from this farm and are associated with chopped romaine lettuce (not whole head lettuce)", the agency said in a statement, adding that other farms are being investigated as well. The ages of those who were sickened ranges from 1 to 88, and 65 percent were female. 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.

Lettuce from the Yuma region should no longer be on sale, but people should check their refrigerators for lettuce that may have been grown in that region, the health department said.

Health officials connected the outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz. which provides most of the romaine sold in the USA during the winter.

For the record, the demographic group most impacted by the outbreak is women. For example, Salinas, Calif., is also a big romaine-producing area. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. Four new sates have reported people getting sick, including Florida. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

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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.

Today the federal agency added 28 more people from 12 states, including Texas, to the list of those sickened by the bacterial outbreak first reported in early April.

"Several weeks can pass from the time a person develops symptoms, goes to a doctor, gets the lab test results and is confirmed as part of the outbreak". In that case, the E. coli was traced back to a grower located near a stream not far from a cow pasture.

The contaminated romaine distributed by Harrison was harvested between March 5 and March 16. Cattle wandered into the stream and wild pigs were found running back and forth.

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