Sick from E. coli?
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Elliot Olsen has represented people sickened by E. coli for decades, and he has regained millions of dollars. If you or a family member got sick from Central Coastal romaine lettuce, please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation, or complete the following:

A little more than a week ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned consumers to avoid romaine lettuce because it might be contaminated with E. coli. Now, the CDC has narrowed its warning to just romaine from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California.

The action is in response to a nationwide outbreak of E. coli illnesses linked to contaminated romaine. Forty-three people have been sickened in 12 states, and 16 of them have been hospitalized. One of those hospitalized developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially deadly form of kidney disease.

Central Coastal romaine: avoid it

Products that contain romaine lettuce will be labeled with a harvest location by region, but it will take some time before the labels are available. If the romaine lettuce you want to buy is not labeled with a harvest growing region, don’t buy it.

Check bags or boxes of romaine lettuce for a label indicating where the lettuce was harvested. Romaine lettuce labeled with a harvest region outside of the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California – such as the desert growing region near Yuma, Arizona; the California desert growing region near Imperial County and Riverside County; the state of Florida; and Mexico – is not linked to the outbreak.

If you do not know where your romaine lettuce was harvested, do not eat it. Rather, throw it away, or return it to the place of purchase.

This advice pertains to all types of romaine lettuce: whole heads; hearts; bags and boxes of precut romaine; salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad; and even organic romaine. Hydroponically grown romaine and romaine grown in greenhouses have not been linked to the outbreak.

CDC narrows E. coli warning to Central Coastal romaine

The CDC has narrowed its warning about contaminated romaine lettuce to romaine from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. The action is in response to a nationwide outbreak of E. coli illnesses in which 43 people have been sickened in 12 states, and 16 of them have been hospitalized.

Central Coastal romaine: more advice

The CDC is also advising that if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection (see below), you should take action:

  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Document what you ate during the week before you became ill.
  • Report the illness to your local health department.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.

Additionally, the CDC advises consumers to wash and sanitize refrigerator drawers ands shelves where romaine was stored. Follow these steps to clean your refrigerator (link).

Central Coastal romaine: outbreak numbers

Illnesses in the outbreak started on dates ranging from Oct. 8 to Oct. 31, and ill people range in age from 1 to 85 years, with a median age of 25. Females make up the vast majority of those sickened (69 percent).

The outbreak also has affected Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada said it has identified 22 ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in the provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec.

Central Coastal romaine: first outbreak

This is not the first outbreak of E. coli illnesses this year linked to contaminated romaine lettuce. The first was called to a close by the CDC on June 28, but not before five people had died. A total of 210 people were sickened in 36 states, and 96 of them needed to be hospitalized.

The investigation into that outbreak concluded that romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was the source of the outbreak.

Central Coastal romaine: symptoms

An E. coli illness generally produces symptoms similar to those of other foodborne illnesses:

  • diarrhea, which can be bloody
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
  • exhaustion
  • suppressed appetite
  • diminished urination.

Most people who become sick with E. coli recover without needing to see a doctor, but complications like HUS can develop and result in dangerous consequences.

Central Coastal romaine: HUS

Hemolytic uremic syndrome almost always affects children younger than 5. HUS is the leading cause of acute kidney failure – also known as renal failure – for that age group.

About 10 percent of E. coli cases turn into HUS, which can become life-threatening. HUS usually develops after a prolonged bout of diarrhea, usually a week or more.

E. coli bacteria severely damage red blood cells, and that can clog the kidneys’ filtering system. When this happens, kidney failure can occur, and a kidney transplant becomes a possibility.

Central Coastal romaine: numerous strains

There are many strains of E. coli bacteria. The strain responsible for this outbreak is the same as the one that produced the first outbreak: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is also known as E. coli O157:H7, E. coli O157, STEC O157, or simply O157.

Anyone can become infected with E. coli, but people with the highest risk of becoming seriously ill include the very young and the very old, and anyone with a compromised immune system.