CDC Recalls Romaine Lettuce over Apparent E. Coli Contamination

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on November, 20, 2018 that 32 people living in 11 states and 18 people in two Canadian provinces had been infected with a strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli most likely stemming from eating romaine lettuce. The first reported illness was on October 8 and the last was on October 31. Thirteen of the 32 were hospitalized and one person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been associated with the contaminated lettuce. The strain of E. coli found in this outbreak was the same one found in people sickened in a 2017 outbreak linked to leafy greens in the United States and to romaine lettuce in Canada. This outbreak is not, however, related to a recent E. coli outbreak across several states also associated with romaine lettuce.
CDC recalls romaine lettuce across country due to E. coli contamination
The CDC has advised consumers, restaurants and retailers to throw out all romaine lettuce, salad mix and prepared salad that contains romaine lettuce because no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified.
The CDC says it will release more information as it becomes available.

When to seek medical attention for E. coli

E. coli symptoms:
People infected with E. coli start to feel symptoms two to five days after they’ve ingested the bacteria. People with normal, healthy immune systems typically recover within a week but those with compromised immune symptoms, children and the elderly are at risk for developing a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which affects the kidneys.

The most common symptoms are:
• Low grade fever
• Abdominal cramps
• Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
• Fatigue

If you suspect that you have been infected with E. coli make an appointment to see your doctor. He or she will order a stool sample to test for the presence of E. coli bacteria.

E. coli treatment:
There is no treatment for E. coli that can stop the symptoms, prevent complications or cure the infection. To manage the symptoms doctors advise people to rest and drink lots of fluids. Patients are advised not to take anti-diarrheal medication as it slows the digestive system down, preventing it from purging the bacteria from the body. Antibiotics are also not usually prescribed as they can increase the risk of serious complications.

If you have a serious E. coli infection that evolves into hemolytic uremic syndrome, you’ll be hospitalized and given medical care including IV fluids, blood transfusions and kidney dialysis.

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