29 April, 2018
The variety of health problems connected to Arizona romaine lettuce polluted with E. coli has actually increased once again, from 84 cases Wednesday to 98 on Friday.
Genetic testing shows that the E.coli strain involved in the outbreak produces a specific type of "Shiga toxin" that causes more severe illness, Wise explained.
On April 20, the CDC alerted Americans to throw out any romaine lettuce they may have purchased in stores.
The growing season in Yuma is pretty much over, but it's possible some illnesses will still occur, said Matthew Wise of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CBS News reports that the recall only applies to romaine lettuce with "best if used by" date before or on May 12, when Freshway Foods stopped buying its romaine from Yuma, Beer said.
The CDC did identify one farm associated with the outbreak but said it's not the source for most cases. After eight men in a prison in Alaska were sickened by intact romaine lettuce heads, investigators traced the outbreak to Harrison Farms in Yuma.
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Health officials have found no other lettuce aside from romaine to be impacted by the outbreak.
"This is a very bad bug that can make people very, very ill with potential renal failure and potentially even death", said Marguerite Pappaioanou, of the University of Washington School of Public Health.
A water jet harvester works rows of romaine lettuce near Soledad, California, May 3, 2017. Forty-six people have been hospitalized, including 10 with kidney failure, which is an unusually high number of hospitalizations.
Illnesses have now been reported in Mississippi, Tennesse\e, and Wisconsin and 19 other states, including OH and Pennsylvania.
"As a family-owned company with long standing roots in Yuma, we are heartbroken to learn that romaine lettuce from our farm has been linked to a group of individuals in Alaska sickened by E. Coli". Romaine lettuce is the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten by those who got sick. That includes whole heads, hearts, chopped romaine, salads and salad mixes containing romaine. However, the O157 strain of E.coli can cause infection and symptoms, including severe stomach cramping, vomiting and diarrhea.
Usually, illness sets in "an average of three to four days after swallowing the germ". Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli infection.