September 18, 2020

After Five E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreaks, Is Romaine Safe to Eat?

In the past two years, there have been five E. coli romaine lettuce outbreaks in the United States. We have to ask: Is romaine safe to eat? The government is having great difficulty trying to trace back romaine that is responsible for these illnesses to the responsible farm, supplier, or distributor.  So far, 387 Americans have been sickened in these Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreaks, 181 have been hospitalized, 35 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and 6 have died. There have been a few recalls during these outbreaks, and the FDA has been able to identify the growing areas in a few outbreaks. One outbreak was linked to a specific farm in California. But the CDC outbreak notices typically state, "No common grower, supplier, … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak Associated with Four Seattle Evergreens Restaurants

Seven people are sick in an E. coli outbreak associated with four Seattle Evergreens restaurants, according to the Seattle King County Health Department. One person has been hospitalized. Those four Evergreen restaurants are all located in Seattle. They are at Pioneer Square at 106 1st Avenue South, in the University District at 4609 Village Ter Northeast, Downtown at 823 3rd Avenue, and the International District at 504 5th Avenue South. The meal dates were November 5 through November 11, 2019. Illness onset dates ranged from November 10 through November 15, 2019. The health department is still investigating and doesn't have conclusive results about what caused this Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreak. Genetic testing on isolates from four of the seven ill persons … [Read more...]

E. coli HUS Romaine Outbreak Grows to 67 Sick and 39 Hospitalized

The E. coli HUS romaine outbreak has now sickened at least 67 people in 19 states. This outbreak is growing rapidly; four days ago there were just 40 people sickened. Thirty-nine people have been hospitalized so far, and six have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The patient case count by state is: Arizona (3), California (4), Colorado (1), Idaho (3), Illinois (1), Maryland (4), Michigan (1), Minnesota (3), Montana (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (2), Ohio (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (3), Texas (2), Virginia (2), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (21). Illness onset dates range from September 24, 2019 to November 14, 2019. The patient age range is from 3 to 89 years. Fifty people sickened in this E. coli HUS romaine outbreak had … [Read more...]

One Minnesota Patient in Romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak

There is one Minnesota patient in Romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak announced last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This patient is part of a fast growing outbreak that climbed from 17 sick on November 19, 2019 to 40 sick on November 22, 2019. That patient has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that is a complication of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection. This complication most often affects children under the age of five. That patient has been hospitalized. The outbreak has affected 40 people in 16 states. The patient age range is from 3 to 89 years. Illness onset dates range from September 4, 2019 to November 10, 2019, but the notice states that "additional cases are under investigation," so the … [Read more...]

E. coli HUS Outbreak: Forty Sick, CDC Says Avoid All Romaine From Salinas, CA

The CDC just posted a food safety alert, telling consumers that in the wake of the newest E. coli HUS outbreak, they should avoid buying or eating all romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region until more information is available. This is an echo of the same advice from the CDC last April, when another, deadly E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was linked to romaine. The advice in 2018 was to avoid all romaine lettuce until officials found the source. This newest outbreak is growing by leaps and bounds. Now 40 people in 16 states are sick. That's an increase of 23 more patients and 8 more states in just the last two days. Twenty-eight people have been hospitalized, which is a very high percentage of cases. Five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a … [Read more...]

FDA Weighs In On the Newest Romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak

The FDA has weighed in on the newest romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 17 people in 8 states. If Maryland Health Department information is added to that total, there are 22 people sick. But the CDC announcement said 17 are ill because only two of the seven Maryland cases have been definitely linked to the outbreak through whole genome sequencing (WGS). This outbreak took some time to unfold. A cluster of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)  illnesses was first identified in Wisconsin last week. Then, an E. coli outbreak in Maryland was identified. The CDC and FDA put it all together, announcing the multistate STEC HUS outbreak on November 20, 2019. The outbreak has been associated with Ready Pac Bistro® Chicken Caesar Salad sold at Sam's Club in … [Read more...]

Missa Bay Salads Recalled As Part of E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Investigation

Missa Bay LLC, of Swedesboro, New Jersey, is recalling about 97,272 pounds of salad products made with meat or poultry because the lettuce ingredient used to make the salads may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The notice does not state that no illnesses have been reported that are connected to these products. There is a multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak just announced yesterday by the CDC that is linked to some types of lettuce, including romaine. As part of an investigation into the Maryland section of the outbreak, the state collected and tested ingredients in a Ready Pac Bistro Caesar Salad with FSIS EST number 18502B on the label that was taken from the home of one of the patients sickened in this outbreak. The romaine lettuce tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. All … [Read more...]

CDC Investigating E. coli O157:H7 Romaine Outbreak Including MD and WI Illnesses

An E. coli O157:H7 romaine outbreak that includes illnesses reported by Maryland and Wisconsin has just been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Maryland outbreak was announced on November 18, 2019, and the Wisconsin outbreak was announced on November 16, 2019, although the first indication of the Wisconsin illnesses was posted on ProMED-mail. So far, the CDC says that 17 people are sick in 8 states. The case count by state is: Arizona (1), California (2), Colorado (1), Idaho (3), Maryland (2), Montana (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (6). The case count for Maryland posted by the CDC is different from the case count posted by the Maryland Department of Health, which is seven sick. So there may be as many as 22 people who are ill in this … [Read more...]

As Many as 20 Sick in Wisconsin E. coli Lettuce Outbreak

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is investigating an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in that state that may be linked to lettuce. There may be as many as 20 cases; three of the cases are children. The law firm of Pritzker Hageman has been retained by multiple patients in this outbreak and  is representing two of those children. One is a 4-year-old who is hospitalized and seriously ill, and the other child is 14 and also hospitalized. Dr. Larry Lutwick posted a notice on ProMed-Mail on November 17, 2019 about three women sickened with E. coli O157 infections who live in northwestern Wisconsin; those women told investigators that they ate salad before becoming sick. Since then, there are news reports that there may be people in other states, in particular Illinois, who may also … [Read more...]

MD E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Ready Pac Chicken Caesar Salad

A MD E. coli O157:H7 outbreak may be linked to Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Chicken Caesar Salad that was purchased from several Sam's Club locations in that state, according to the Maryland Health Department. Seven people are sick. One person has been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. The health department is recommending the consumers not eat Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Chicken Caesar Salad. The lot number on the product is 255406963, and the best by date is October 31, 2019. Officials tested unopened salad purchased by one of the patients, and found E. coli O157 in the romaine lettuce used in the salad. In addition to Sam's Club, these salad bowls are distributed to many other retailers. The notice did not name those retailers. The investigation is ongoing and more … [Read more...]

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