New CDC Stats Show 1 E. coli Case in Texas

Glen Mclaughlin
May 10, 2018

The E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce has now left 149 people ill - almost half of whom battling the infection in hospitals across 29 states.

Sixty-four individuals have been hospitalized, including 17 with kidney failure, according to the CDC. Following the May 6 report on one case in North Dakota, also not yet included in the national count, it appears the romaine outbreak continues to expand. The ages of those who were sickened ranges from 1 to 88, and 65 percent were female.

That number is likely to climb, however, as the CDC reports that it takes an average of three weeks between the time a person falls ill and when the additional case is reported to the agency.

People should not eat or purchase romaine lettuce unless it's confirmed the lettuce was not grown in the Yuma, Ariz. region, the CDC said. One, Harrison Farms in Yuma, Arizona, grew some of the lettuce that sickened eight people in the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, Alaska.

Conducting a traceback investigation from farm to plate is far from a direct line, but more of a massive web that requires tedious detective work, said Faith Critzer, a produce safety specialist and associate professor of food sciences at WSU extension in Prosser.

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However, the outbreak hasn't scared away many restaurants from keeping romaine on their menu.

To explain the diverse geographical spread of this outbreak, the FDA said it is still investigating multiple points of origin and distribution. Previously, the CDC warned that the strain of E. coli identified, O157:H7, is particularly virulent and known to be associated with higher hospitalization and complication rates.

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.

Symptoms of illness caused by E. coli O157 typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but with only a low-grade fever, or no fever, according to the health department.

Federal officials first warned of the problem in April after people started getting sick from greens they ate March 22 to 31. The most recent E. coli outbreak has already made 121 sick and killed one (in California) across 25 states. Cattle wandered into the stream and wild pigs were found running back and forth.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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