Coli outbreak linked to chopped romaine lettuce

Multistate E. coli Outbreak Caused by Unknown Food Source

Health officials probe E. coli outbreak in 7 states

The Department of Health says the source of an E.coli outbreak has been identified as romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region. People who have the lettuce from Yuma or other unknown source should throw it out, even if they have already eaten some and did not become ill.

Pennsylvania and CT reported two cases and the other states have all reported one, CNN said. New Jersey has been hit the hardest, with six cases of the infection. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.

As soon as the poisoned food is identified, grocery stores and restaurants will be advised to avoid serving it. E. coli is often transmitted on raw vegetables and undercooked meat.

Six people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported, as officials seek to determine what caused the outbreak.

Health officials warned the public to stay away from chopped romaine lettuce.

The states where cases have been reported are: Pennsylvania (9); Idaho (8); New Jersey (7); CT (2); NY (2); OH (2); Virginia (1); Washington (1); Missouri (1); MI (1); and IL (1). However, preliminary information indicates that the chopped romaine lettuce was from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

"Nearly all of the romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the United States is from California growing areas, and is not implicated in the outbreak".

"CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid any particular food at this time", the organization's notice said. But officials from Warren County said last week that they were investigating several Panera Bread restaurants.

The people who have been confirmed sickened in the outbreak fell ill in late March, according to the CDC.

The people infected so far range in age from 12 to 84 years old.

Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting within three to four days of swallowing the germ that causes the sickness.

Earlier this week, the CDC said 17 people nationwide had been infected with a potentially severe strain of E. coli - the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

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