April 6, 2020

Ohio Romaine Outbreak Sickens 12 with E. coli O157:H7 Infections

The Ohio romaine outbreak has sickened 12 people with E. coli O157:H7 infections, making it the state with the second most illnesses after Wisconsin, with 33 cases as of December 9, 2019. Overall, at least 102 people are sick across the country, with 58 hospitalized and 10 who have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.

Ohio Romaine Outbreak Sickens 12 with E. coli O157:H7 Infections

The Ohio Department of Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA have warned consumers to avoid any romaine lettuce that is harvested from other Salinas, California growing region. The growing season in that area ended on November 30, 2019, but some reports issued by government officials have said that this romaine may still be on store shelves.

Most romaine products, including baby romaine, chopped romaine, organic romaine, hearts of romaine, romaine in salad wraps, salad bowl kits, sandwiches, packages of precut lettuce, and salad mixes that contain romaine, may be marked with the growing region. This is a voluntary policy put into place after last year’s two romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreaks. If the label says “Salinas” anywhere, or if the package is unmarked, don’t eat the romaine.

The CDC and FDA have stated that there is one grower associated with all three E. coli O157:H7 romaine outbreaks that are ongoing, but that grower has not been named. Officials have inspected three farms in the Salinas region, but has not named those.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

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

Symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include a mild fever, vomiting, painful and severe stomach and abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody and/or watery. These symptoms usually start a few days after exposure to the pathogen.

If the patient is under the age of five, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome may develop after this infection. Shiga toxins produced by the E. coli bacteria destroy red blood cells, which travel to the kidneys and cause kidney failure. Symptoms of HUS include lethargy, pale skin, easy bruising, and little or no urine output.

Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. This Ohio romaine outbreak could still grow because it takes time to diagnose a patient and report that illness to government officials.

 

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