Coli in Arizona romaine sickens almost 150 people across 29 states

Forum News Service file

As people across the United States are still dealing with the romaine lettuce E. coli O157 outbreak, people in Minnesota are now suffering from an E. Coli infection.

Ten illnesses linked to the lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., area have been confirmed in Minnesota, the state Health Department said Tuesday. They live in both metro and greater Minnesota counties. People got sick from April 20 through May 2.

Health officials have tied the outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the USA during the winter. We transitioned out of receiving products from the Yuma region prior to the advisory being issued.

Symptoms of E.coli O157 can include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but typically there is no fever involved.

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The condition can be life-threatening in between 5 percent to 10 percent of people infected. Illnesses that occurred in the last two to three weeks might not yet be reported because of the time between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC. Those most at risk of developing complications from E. coli O157 include children younger than 10, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

Three of the patients were hospitalized, and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal complication that can lead to kidney failure.

The struggle to identify the origins of the E. coli outbreak, which has sickened people from Washington state to New Jersey, highlights the difficulty of tracking a pathogen through a complex food supply chain, said a produce safety expert at Washington State University. In the latest update to its initial warning bulletin, the CDC explains that the strain of E. coli which has been traced back to a specific growing region in Arizona is still spreading. The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clarkhave represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $650 million for clients.

"Most of the illnesses in this outbreak are not linked to romaine lettuce from this farm and are associated with chopped romaine lettuce (not whole head lettuce)", the agency said in a statement, adding that other farms are being investigated as well.

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