Romaine lettuce outbreak has spread to 32 states


Any romaine lettuce being sold now is nearly certainly not from the Yuma, Arizona region and so unlikely to carry the E. coli bacteria that's been making people sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Lettuce has a 21-day shelf life, which means that any romaine sold in stores or served in restaurants right now is unlikely to be from the tainted region, the CDC said.

The E. coli outbreak on romaine lettuce has hit Utah.

Illnesses that occurred after April 21, 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. So, it should no longer be in stores and restaurants because of its three-week shelf life.

The last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma region were harvested on April 16, 2018 and the harvest season is over, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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The Douglas County Health Department has confirmed one case of E. coli O157:H7 related to the outbreak in romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona, region.

That's "still within the window when contaminated romaine was available for sale", the CDC said, and "the latest reported illness started on May 2". The CDC also noted that 75 people have been hospitalized. The outbreak has killed one person and sickened almost 150 others. A previous warning was limited to chopped forms of romaine, including salads and salad mixes.

Genetic testing shows that the E. coli strain involved in the outbreak produces a specific type of "Shiga toxin" that causes more severe illness, according to Matthew Wise, the CDC deputy branch chief for outbreak response.

"I'm the Mueller of the E. coli outbreak", Marler says.

Health officials say people shouldn't eat romaine lettuce unless they know it's not from Yuma.