July 14, 2024

Rep. DeLauro Wants Answers on the Deadly E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak That May be Associated with Romaine Lettuce

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday, asking for information on the deadly E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak “which is responsible for 58 infections and 2 deaths in the United States and Canada.” The Congresswoman is alarmed by the CDC’s response to the outbreak, which was confirmed on December 28, 2017. No more information has been released to the public about this outbreak since then.

Romaine Lettuce deadly E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

DeLauro added that, “CDC confirmed the outbreak on December 28 – almost a month and a half after the first infection. As with any food safety threat, foodborne illness represents a grave risk to the health and wellbeing of consumers across our nation, particularly children and the elderly.”

She added, “CDC’s stunning lack of guidance to consumers regarding this outbreak is unconscionable. When it comes to food safety, American consumers deserve more than this slow and insufficient response. Families from coast to coast have been affected by this most recent outbreak, and many more are now left wondering if the food they are eating is safe. It is vitally important that the CDC —the world’s preeminent public health organization—completes a thorough investigation while also providing timely, public information.”

At least 17 people in the United States have been sickened in this deadly E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak. Five people have been hospitalized, two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and one person in California has died.

There is a deadly E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak in Canada that has sickened 41 people with a very similar strain of E. coli O157:H7. One person has died in that outbreak. Canadian officials have linked those illnesses to romaine lettuce, and have advised people in the five provinces affected to avoid that product. There has been no similar recommendation from the CDC, although Consumer Reports has told people to avoid that type of leafy green.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include severe and painful abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is watery and/or bloody, and a mild fever. People usually get sick 3 to 5 days after they are exposed to the pathogenic bacteria.

If the illness is improperly treated with antibiotics, or if the patient is very young, a life-threatening complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome can develop. The kidneys can shut down, and patients can experience strokes and seizures. The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, lethargy, pale skin, easy bruising, a skin rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth.

If you or anyone you have has developed these symptoms, especially after eating romaine lettuce, it’s important to see a doctor. This illness can cause permanent health problems and can be deadly.

The experienced attorneys at Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully help and represent people who have been hurt by adulterated foods in outbreaks throughout the United States. They also represent families in wrongful death cases. The firm’s lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for foodborne illness patients and their families, including the largest verdict in American history for a person injured by E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Pritzker Hageman lawyers are often interviewed as experts on the topic by major news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the firm represents people harmed by pathogenic microorganisms in Legionnaires‘ disease, product liability cases, and surgical site infections. Class action lawsuits are usually not appropriate for food poisoning cases, since every case is unique.

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