CDC tracks tainted lettuce to Arizona

  • CDC tracks tainted lettuce to Arizona

CDC tracks tainted lettuce to Arizona

In early April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the red flag on an E. coli outbreak that had affected 17 people across 7 states.

The E. coli outbreak linked to tainted romaine lettuce has grown and sickened 84 people from 19 states, USA health officials said Wednesday. Since the CDC's last update, the outbreak has spread to Colorado, Georgia, and South Dakota.

Although not one of those affected by the outbreak has died, nine patients developed a risky form of kidney failure, the agency said.

"This is a very virulent strain of bacteria", said James Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports, to Today.

The cases reported to date began between March 13 and April 12, affecting people of all ages.

Health officials investigating the outbreak have obtained information on 78 of the sick patients and found that 42 of them have been hospitalized. Pennsylvania has the most number of cases with 18, followed by California with 13 and Idaho with 10. There have been no reported deaths. Most people recover in five to seven days.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agriculture Society, James Paul, describes the fact that Barbados imports this lettuce, and is now caught up in the whole E.coli fears, as ‘absurd.

"Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region", the federal health officials said. Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting, the agency said. This takes an average of two to three weeks.

The agency also warned restaurants not to serve romaine lettuce to customers.

Lettuce samples will be tested after the workers find evidence of a shared farm or supplier, he said.

Despite narrowing down the region where the contaminated lettuce appears to have come from, health officials still have not identified the source (s) of the romaine lettuce.