E.coli outbreak in 13 states tied to Romaine lettuce - KMOV.com

E.coli outbreak in 13 states tied to Romaine lettuce

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A worker harvests romaine lettuce in Salinas, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) A worker harvests romaine lettuce in Salinas, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Meredith) – Experts believe a bad batch of Romaine lettuce is to blame for an E.coli outbreak in 13 states across the country.

According to Today, Consumer Reports called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to do more to warn people about the outbreak.

Consumers Reports and Today reported that there have been at least 58 people sick and one death from the E. coli outbreak.

Which States?

Here's a list of the states that have had confirmed cases of E. coli tied to Romaine lettuce:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington (State)

When Was The Outbreak Reported?

The outbreak was last reported by the CDC on Dec. 28. At the time, it claimed 17 people were sick in 13 states (which dated back to November).

Here’s a statement issued by the CDC on Dec. 28:

“The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada. In the United States, state and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine. Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether U.S. residents should avoid a particular food.”

[Click Here To Read The Full Statement On The CDC's Website]

Consumer Reports Food Safety Director James Roger told Today that “even though we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the U.S., a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that romaine lettuce is almost always consumed raw.”

It can take weeks to track down the source of food contamination. Foods are shipped nationally and internationally and finding exactly where contamination is coming from is a huge task.

What Is E. coli?

E. coli is a bacteria that normally lives in the intestines of humans and some animals. Most are harmless, however, some strains of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others can cause urinary tract infections.

This strand of E. coli is known as (0157:H7). This particular strand can lead to serious illness, kidney failure, and even death, Consumer Reports claims.

How Do I Get E. coli?

Infection from E. coli can occur from even the smallest amount of contaminated foods or beverages. It's common to contact E. coli from the following:

  • Ground Meat (Undercooked meat is a common cause of contraction)
  • Untreated Milk (Normally, milk is heated to kill bacteria before it's sent out for human consumption, but unpasteurized milk could potential contain the bacteria). 
  • Vegetables and Fruit (These foods can be contaminated if they are washed with water containing E. coli. This usually occures when manure mixes with the water supply).
  • Other Foods and Beverages (Unpasteurized fruit juices, yogurts, and cheeses also have the potential to be a source of E. coli.)
  • Water (Swallowing water from a pool, lake, or pond that contains the bacteria could also be another source of potential infection).
  • People (You can contract E. coli from an infected person if you clean up after them and fail to wash your hands after).
  • Animals (E. coli can also be found anywhere animals might be, such as petting zoos).

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Information for this article was provided by Today, the FDA, the CDCConsumer Reports, and WebMD.

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