Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

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

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

According to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, Texas has been added to the list of states reporting illnesses linked to an E. coli outbreak from lettuce.

Besides the death recorded in California, 17 patients have developed a unsafe form of kidney failure, the agency said. Of those 149, the CDC has information on 129 and 64 of those 129 people (49.6 percent) have been hospitalized.

It's unclear if new illness are still occurring. It can produce STX1 and STX2, but those that produce only STX2 - which is what's happening with this outbreak - tend to cause more severe illness.

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On Wednesday, the footprint of the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak became more extensive than the historic and deadly 2006 fresh spinach outbreak.

Patients across the nation range in age from 1 to 88, with the median being 30.

The CDC continues to advise consumers not to eat romaine lettuce unless they are confident it does not come from the Yuma, AZ, growing area.

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So far, a total of 149 cases caused by a particularly virulent strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported.

The geographic disparity in the clusters has helped confound officials in tracking the source of the outbreak deeper than the Yuma region. "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".

Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the USA during the winter.

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One death was reported from California, which was included in the May 2 update. In the latest update to its initial warning bulletin, the CDC explains that the strain of E. coli which has been traced back to a specific growing region in Arizona is still spreading. The E. Coli issue involves whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine. The common symptoms are diarrhea, which often is bloody; severe stomach cramps; and vomiting. However, E. coliO157 infections sometimes lead to HUS.

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