July 10, 2020

E. coli Salinas Romaine Outbreak Has Now Sickened 138; 13 With HUS

The E. coli Salinas romaine outbreak has now sickened 138 people in 25 states. Seventy-two people have been hospitalized. And 13 people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. This is an increase of 36 more patients since the last update on December 4, 2019.

E. coli Salinas Romaine Outbreak Has Now Sickened 138; 13 With HUS

The case count by state is: Arizona (3), California (4), Colorado (6), Florida (2), Idaho (3), Illinois (10), Iowa (1), Maryland (5), Michigan (1), Minnesota (5), Montana (1), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (9), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (2), Ohio (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (17), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (6), Virginia (6), Washington (4), and Wisconsin (33). Illness onset dates range from September 20 ,2019 to December 1, 2019. The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 89 years.

Epidemiological evidence still indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA growing region is contaminated and is making people sick. The CDC is still advising that consumers avoid romaine lettuce grown in that area of the country, including all use-by dates and all brands and types of romaine from this region.

The fact that the last illness onset date was December 1, 2019 does indicate that romaine from Salinas is still involved. That lettuce harvest season ended November 30, 2019. Romaine has a shelf life of 7 to 10 days. And it takes a few days after ingesting this pathogen before someone gets sick and sees a doctor.

Most romaine lettuce products are labeled with a region. If the romaine you want to buy doesn’t have a label or indicate the growing region, do not buy it. If you are in a restaurant and want to order a product made with romaine, ask where it came from. If the restaurant management doesn’t know, don’t eat it.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an E. coli O157:H7 infection or HUS, you can contact attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Wisconsin health officials recently reported that they identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in an unopened bag of Fresh Express Leafy Green Romaine taken from an ill person’s home. Salinas, California was the source of the romaine identified in the bag. The FDA mentioned their recent investigation that states that three current ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks: this large one, one in the upper Midwest, and one associated with Evergreen restaurants in Seattle, Washington may all be associated with the same grower. No more information about that grower has been provided.

This outbreak is caused by the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 that caused outbreaks linked to leafy greens in 2017 and to romaine lettuce in 2018. In 2017, officials did not identify a growing region where the greens were harvested. In 2018, the romaine lettuce in question came from the Central Coastal growing regions in northern and central California.

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include a mild fever, perhaps some vomiting and nausea, serious, painful, and severe stomach and abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody and watery. Symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome include little urine output, lethargy, pale skin, and easy bruising. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms, especially if they have eaten romaine lettuce, should see a doctor immediately.

 

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