E.coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, CDC says

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The agency has not identified a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand.

Illnesses that occurred after March 27, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported.

Last year, an outbreak of 17 E. coli infections were reported in 13 states across the United States, all of which occurred from November 15, 2017 through December 8, 2017.

Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. Throw away all chopped romaine lettuce, including salad mixes containing romaine.

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An E. coli outbreak linked to potentially contaminated romaine lettuce now has infected 35 people across 11 different states and resulted in 22 hospitalizations.

The cases have been reported in Missoula, Flathead, Lincoln and Ravalli counties.

"E. coli can cause serious illness, so it is critical that everyone take precautions by not eating store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, even if you or someone from you family has consumed the product and did not get sick", said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. While no deaths related to the outbreak have been reported, symptoms of E. coli can present as diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

Many people prefer romaine to iceberg lettuce, because the romaine has a lot less water and usually lasts much longer in the fridge.

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Montana has experienced two E. Coli outbreaks in the past three years, according to Hinnenkamp.

- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

Phillips said anyone who thinks they've eaten contaminated romaine and are experiencing "diarrhea and nausea and sometimes a fever, but generally a very low fever and it can actually turn into bloody diarrhea", should head to the doctor.

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