Ten Minnesota Cases linked to Romaine Lettuce E. coli Outbreak

Casey Dawson
May 10, 2018

Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness.

Federal health officials say six Canadians have been stricken by a strain of E. coli that has a similar genetic fingerprint to romaine lettuce from the USA southwest that has already sickened 149 people in 29 states. Product from the Yuma growing region should no longer be on sale; however, individuals should check their refrigerators for romaine lettuce that may have been grown in the Yuma region.

Romaine lettuce is displayed on May 2, 2018 in San Anselmo, California.

The rest of the cases involve chopped lettuce that did not come from the Yuma farm, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Including Texas, Florida, Minnesota, and North Dakota are the newest states to report illnesses. Four new sates have reported people getting sick, including Florida.

The Minnesota Department of Health cautioned Minnesotans against eating romaine lettuce unless they are able to ascertain that it is not from the Yuma region, an area that includes western Arizona and southeastern California.

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The outbreak has been traced to lettuce from Yuma, Arizona. The ages of those who were sickened ranges from 1 to 88, and 65 percent were female. Sixty-four people have been hospitalized and 17 of them developed kidney failure.

The CDC cautions against the use of antibiotics when dealing with this strain of E. coli because studies have connected antibiotic use with an increased risk for hemolytic uremic syndrome in both children and adults. However, there is a 21-day shelf life for romaine, so there is a possibility there might still be lettuce in the supply chain.

Last week, the agency reported that the outbreak had claimed its first life, killing one person in California. CDC is advising consumers not to eat or buy romaine lettuce if they do not know where it was grown. But the other 141 cases are still not linked to a farm, processor, distributor, grocery store, or restaurant.

The case patients in this outbreak are evenly scattered all over the map of this country.

The contaminated romaine distributed by Harrison was harvested between March 5 and March 16.

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