May 21, 2024

Nine People in Pennsylvania Sick in E. coli O157:H7 Romaine Lettuce Outbreak; One Has HUS

Nine people in Pennsylvania are sick in the multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak the CDC has linked to chopped romaine lettuce. Six of those people have been hospitalized, and one person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a kind of kidney failure, according to Nate Wardle, Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

E. coli O157:H7 HUS Chopped Romaine Outbreak

This is not the same outbreak as the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that took place in November and December 2017. In that outbreak, which was linked to leafy greens, 25 people in 15 states were sick, two developed HUS, and one death was reported from California.

In this new outbreak, officials believe that chopped romaine lettuce from the growing region in Yuma, Arizona is linked to the illness. The first illness was reported on March 22, 2018, and the last was reported March 27, 2018. Because it can take a few weeks before someone feels sick, sees a doctor, is tested, and that test is reported to the government, it is likely more illnesses will be added to the total case count.

Pennsylvania is not the only state with patients. The states where people are sick are: Connecticut (2), Idaho (8, with two HUS cases), Illinois (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (9), Virginia (1), and Washington. The patient age range in this outbreak is 12 to 84. The fact that three patients have developed HUS is unusual, since this complication usually strikes children under the age of 5. But people of any age can develop this serious and potentially life-threatening illness.

The government is advising consumers to discard any chopped romaine lettuce, whether it was purchased in a salad mix or bagged, if they aren’t positive it wasn’t grown in Arizona. It can be difficult for consumers to pinpoint the place their produce came from. You can ask your retailer, but if they aren’t sure or don’t know, play it safe and throw the lettuce away.

Also, if you are eating out or buying a salad from a store, ask about the romaine lettuce’s origin. All retailers should know about this outbreak by now, and should be able to tell you if the chopped romaine lettuce they are selling is safe.

There have been a few recalls linked to this problem. Fresh Foods has recalled salads, as has Freshway Foods. Giant Eagle has also recalled some salads and other products. It’s important that you pay attention to recall notices and discard any you may have in your home.

The symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 food poisoning are striking and unique. People will have severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody and watery. There is usually no fever or vomiting.

The symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome are also unique. There will be little urine output, lethargy, easy bruising, tiredness, pale skin, and a skin rash. Both of these conditions are serious and can be life-threatening, so anyone who is suffering like this should be taken to a doctor immediately.

The lawyers at Pritzker Hageman law firm help people sickened by food contaminated with E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and other pathogenic bacteria get answers, compensation and justice. We protect our client’s legal rights. Our lawyers represent clients and families of children in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against grocery stores, food producers, shippers, dairies, restaurants, retailers, and schools. In 2016 attorney Fred Pritzker won a $7.5 million judgment on behalf of a young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli O157:H7 infection.

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