CNN

E. coli outbreak expands; still no source identified

Apr 28, 2018, 12:49 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:01 pm
Fourteen more people have become ill from E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, the US Centers for Dis...
Fourteen more people have become ill from E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

(CNN) — Fourteen more people have become ill from E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. This brings the total number of illnesses from this outbreak to 98 people in 22 states, with Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin as the newest states to report cases.

“We do expect more reports of illness since there is a two-week delay between when a person becomes ill and when they are confirmed to be part of an outbreak,” said Matthew Wise, deputy branch chief for outbreak response at the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.

Forty-six of the ill individuals have been hospitalized, a higher rate than the 30% typically seen in E. coli outbreaks.

“CDC laboratory testing has confirmed that the strain of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7 causing this outbreak produces a type of toxin that tends to cause more severe illness, which may explain why there is a high hospitalization rate,” the agency said in an outbreak investigation update Friday.

Ten of the hospitalized patients have developed a type of kidney failure associated with E. coli called hemolytic uremic syndrome. They range in age from 18 to 87 years old, and three of them are children, according to the CDC.

The individuals who most recently became ill began experiencing symptoms April 20. Those symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. They begin, on average, three to four days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people recover in five to seven days. Those most at risk for E. coli illness include the very young, the very old and individuals with compromised immune systems.

“This is serious, and everyone should avoid romaine,” Wise said, adding that the advice to consumers is for everyone — not limited to specific groups such as those most at risk for severe illness.

That advice: “Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.”

The growing season in the Yuma region runs from November to March and then moves north to Salinas, California, for the summer. The move is underway, and some farms in Yuma have completed their season, but the FDA said it cannot confirm that no more lettuce is being shipped from the region based on the information it has from industry organizations.

The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have yet to identify a brand, manufacturer, supplier or farm as the source of the E. coli contamination. However, they have identified Harrison Farms in Yuma as the grower of the whole heads of romaine that caused illness in eight inmates at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska. The growing season at that farm has ended, but health investigators are planning to visit the farm in an effort to determine the how the lettuce became contaminated.

The CDC emphasized that although the other 90 cases of illness are linked to the eight in Alaska, those 90 are from chopped bagged lettuce, and that contamination source remains a mystery.

“At this point, we are looking at the whole spectrum” of the supply chain, said Stic Harris, director of the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network. “As we go through the distribution of product, we are looking for places of convergence where the contamination may have happened. We are looking at each grower or shipper or supplier to see if there is a convergence.”

There is no evidence that lettuce grown outside the Yuma region is part of this outbreak, according to Harris.

This is the largest outbreak of its kind since a deadly E. coli outbreak in 2006 that was linked to spinach. Unlike spinach, which is often cooked, romaine — and lettuce in general — is more common as a culprit in E. coli outbreaks because it’s eaten raw.

“There’s no kill step,” Harris said, noting that he himself eats romaine several times a week.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

CNN

A general view of atmosphere the premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Frozen"at the El Capit...
Alli Rosenbloom

Disney announces more ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Frozen’ sequels are in the works

Disney CEO Bob Iger said on Wednesday during the company's earnings call that there are plans for additional sequels to both hit franchises in the works.
1 day ago
Patrick Crusius...
Ashley Killough and Holly Yan, CNN

Suspect in El Paso Walmart massacre pleads guilty to 90 federal charges

Patrick Crusius plead guilty to all federal charges on Wednesday, nearly three and a half years after the 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas -- one of the deadliest attacks on Latinos in modern US history.
1 day ago
The Twitter emblem is displayed on a smart phone outside the Twitter offices in Dublin on November ...
CNN

Twitter users briefly unable to tweet, send messages

Twitter users on Wednesday briefly encountered various issues with the platform, including the inability to tweet, send direct messages or follow new accounts.
1 day ago
Police secure the scene where a bus crashed into a day care center on Feb. 8. (Anne-Sophie Thill/AF...
Paula Newton

2 children dead, 6 others injured after bus crashes into daycare near Montreal

Authorities in Quebec said two children have died and six others were taken to area hospitals with injuries after a city bus drove into a daycare center in a Montreal suburb Wednesday morning.
1 day ago
(From left) Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are pictured here in 2016's "La La Land." (Dale Robinette/L...
Alli Rosenbloom

Musical adaptation of ‘La La Land’ is dancing its way to Broadway

Get your dancing shoes ready, because "La La Land" is coming to Broadway.
2 days ago
Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover debris from a suspected Chinese sur...
Haley Britzky

US Navy releases photos of Chinese spy balloon recovery effort

The U.S. Navy released photos Tuesday of its recovery effort of a suspected Chinese spy balloon, which U.S. fighter jets shot down over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
E. coli outbreak expands; still no source identified