Coli in Arizona romaine sickens almost 150 people across 29 states

"This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people, in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed". Illness onset dates range from April 20 through May 2. The states that are hardest hit are Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, and Idaho. The cases are from both metro and greater Minnesota counties; 90 percent are female.

"Just Salad suppliers are NOT affected by the possible E.coli outbreak", the statement read, before informing customers of where their lettuce in all markets originates. Reported exposure locations include restaurants, grocery stores, and residential facilities. Fifty-two have required hospitalization.

Minnesota, North Dakota, and Texas have also reported recent illnesses, the CDC said.

People should not eat or purchase romaine lettuce unless it's confirmed the lettuce was not grown in the Yuma, Ariz. region, the CDC said. "The Yuma growing region includes part of western Arizona and extends into the Imperial Valley of southeastern California, but does not include Salinas Valley or other growing regions in California". One, Harrison Farms in Yuma, Arizona, grew some of the lettuce that sickened eight people in the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, Alaska. The common symptoms are diarrhea, which often is bloody; severe stomach cramps; and vomiting.

Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli - the kind involved in this outbreak - is so potent that the Department of Homeland Security even lists it as a potential agent of biological warfare. Those most at risk of developing complications from E. coli O157 include children younger than 10, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

"Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli O157 infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli O157 infection is ruled out", the CDC said. Anyone who believes they may have developed the infection should contact their health provider.

Approximately 135 cases of E. coli O157 are reported each year in Minnesota.

The CDC continues to track the progress of the outbreak, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempts to sleuth out its source. CDC is expected to announce a new national count shortly. Most times, product labels do not identify where the lettuce was grown.

  • Aubrey Nash