The United States Center For Disease Control reports that the recent E coli outbreak blamed on romaine lettuce that was produced in Yuma, Arizona has been detected in four new states. The states that now have a concern are Texas, Florida, North Dakota, and Minnesota. This brings the total of states that have now shown evidence of infection from the bacteria to 29.
The total number of individuals known to be affected by the E coli outbreak is 149 since the first case was detected back in March. The CDC does warn however that due to delays that sometimes occur with the reporting of these illnesses that the number can be quite a bit higher.
The particular strain of E coli responsible for the present outbreak is said by the CDC to be particularly harsh resulting in multiple hospitalizations and the death of one person in California.
There have been 64 people hospitalized due to the outbreak and of that number, 17 have developed a condition known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome. The condition is a form of kidney failure which can in some cases be deadly, though most patients afflicted with the condition make full recoveries.
Symptoms caused by contact with E coli usually begin no later than four days after consuming the bacteria. These symptoms can include painful stomach cramps, vomiting, and in some cases diarrhea. Many patients recover in about a week if receiving proper treatment.
It is cautioned that patients suffering from E coli not be given antibiotics due to the medicine has been known to increase the likelihood of hemolytic uremic syndrome in both adults and minors.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has been notified by the Department of Agriculture in Arizona that a halt has been called on the growing of romaine lettuce in Yuma and surrounding areas. The concern now is that there could still be remaining romaine lettuce on the market that has already been contaminated.
The FDA is currently conducting an investigation to determine how the outbreak spread to such diverse geographical locations. A week ago, Harrison Farms was fingered as the source of an isolated outbreak in the state of Alasa that caused eight prison inmates to become ill.
The FDA says that the growing season for Harrison Farms has come to an end and the shelf life of all lettuce originating from the far has ended, making it safe to say that none of the contaiminated lettuce from the farm is being presently sold or served.