September 26, 2023

Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, and Idaho Hardest Hit by E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Linked to Chopped Romaine Lettuce; Some May Sue

The E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak that is linked to romaine lettuce is the largest of its kind since 2006. As of May 8, 2018, 149 people living in 29 states are sick. Sixty-four people have been hospitalized, and seventeen have developed HUS. One person, who lived in California, has died. The states that are hardest hit are Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, and Idaho. Most patients ate chopped romaine lettuce before their illnesses began.

Chopped Romaine Lettuce E. coli O157-H7 Minnesota California Idaho Pennsylvania

In Minnesota, 10 people are sick. California has the largest number of case patients, with 30 ill. In Pennsylvania, 20 people are sick. And in Idaho, there are 11 people with this infection.

Public health officials have still not figured out exactly which farm or farms the lettuce came from. One, Harrison Farms in Yuma, Arizona, grew some of the lettuce that sickened eight people in the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, Alaska. But the other 141 cases are still not linked to a farm, processor, distributor, grocery store, or restaurant.

We also don’t know why those states are bearing a higher burden in this outbreak. It may be because people in those states eat more romaine lettuce, or are eat out more frequently. Most of the patients have told public health officials they ate chopped romaine in salads served in restaurants before they got sick.

The restaurants interviewed by officials have told them they used bagged, chopped romaine lettuce in their salads and other dishes. That means the contaminated lettuce, wherever it came from, was sent to a processing center. Those facilities chop and mix lettuce from farms all over the country. One or two heads of lettuce contaminated with pathogenic bacteria can then contaminate many bags of chopped romaine.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

The case patients in this outbreak are evenly scattered all over the map of this country.  In many outbreaks, cases are concentrated in one geographic area or another. The fact that they are so evenly distributed most likely means a large distributor or processor was involved.

Meanwhile, avoid eating any type of romaine lettuce, especially chopped romaine lettuce, until officials say it is safe to eat. And know the symptoms of HUS and an E. coli infection. If you or anyone in your family does develop any of these symptoms, especially bloody diarrhea or decreased urine output, see your doctor.

The noted law firm Pritzker Hageman helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food protect their legal rights and get answers and compensation. Our lawyers help patients and families of children in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against retailers, grocery stores, food processors, restaurants, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team of lawyers recently won $7.5 million for a young client whose kidneys failed because he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli infection. You should know that class action lawsuits may not be appropriate for outbreak victims because each individual case is different. If you have a question about this outbreak, leave a comment about this story. We will keep you informed as more information is released by government officials.

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