A strain of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans, E. Coli is usually harmless. However, one type of this bacteria (E. coli O157:H7) is known to cause intestinal infections. Most of these infections are caused by contaminated water and food sources. Recently, a popular leafy green seems to have caused an E. Coli outbreak in the US.
The Recent E. Coli Outbreak Caused by Romaine Lettuce
According to the CDC, the outbreak has now spread to 25 states, with more than 120 cases reported since the end of March. There have been 52 recorded hospitalizations and one death so far. Several people have also developed hemolytic uremic syndrome – a kidney failure condition that often follows a diarrheal infection.
The infection seems to be caused by romaine lettuce made in Yuma, Arizona. Although the investigation is still ongoing, the authorities haven’t yet found where in the supply chain has the lettuce become contaminated. One farm in Yuma has been identified as a potential source, and romaine lettuce from this region is no longer being produced or distributed.
What Can You Do?
Since the contamination happened at the end of March, we can’t say that the contaminated lettuce is no longer circling around. The CDC advises that you throw away all the romaine lettuce in your home and wash your refrigerator thoroughly.
If you notice symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps (especially in children), contact your doctor.
The Bottom Line
The authorities have found that romaine lettuce grown in Arizona is responsible for the recent E. Coli outbreak in the US. Keep following the CDC website for updates and make sure you don’t eat store-bought romaine lettuce until it’s deemed safe again.