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Elliot Olsen’s experience representing people sickened by E. coli spans decades, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation. If you or a family member got sick after eating contaminated romaine lettuce, please call (612) 337-6126, or complete the following:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated statistics on the E. coli outbreak from contaminated romaine lettuce. The numbers to date: 53 people sick – and 31 of them hospitalized – in 16 states.

In addition, the CDC reports that five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal type of kidney failure (see below). No deaths have been reported.

The CDC has pinned the outbreak on chopped romaine lettuce produced in the Yuma, AZ, growing region. However, the CDC said, “at this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified.”

Outbreak victims range in age from 10 to 85, with a median age of 34. Seventy percent of those who have become sick are female. Illnesses started as far back as March 13.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 – also called E. coli O157:H7, E. coli O157, STEC O157, or simply O157 – has been identified as the culprit. E. coli O157 is the most commonly identified STEC in North America. When you hear news reports about E. coli outbreaks, they are usually talking about E. coli O157.

The CDC is investigating the outbreak in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and several state departments.

Contaminated romaine lettuce:
CDC says “throw it away”

The CDC is advising that anyone who has purchased chopped romaine lettuce, whether packaged on its own or in a salad mix, should throw it away. In addition, consumers who do not know if the lettuce is romaine should throw it away, the CDC said.

If you insist on purchasing chopped romaine lettuce, whether at a grocery store or in a restaurant, you should confirm that it is not from the Yuma area. If you cannot confirm that, do not buy it or eat it.

contaminated romaine lettuce

The E. coli outbreak attributed to contaminated romaine lettuce keeps growing. The numbers to date: 53 people sick – and 31 hospitalized – in 16 states.

Contaminated romaine lettuce:
No link to earlier outbreak

This current E. coli outbreak is not related to a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections linked to leafy greens at the beginning of the year. The CDC said people sickened in that outbreak, which was declared over Jan. 25, were infected with a different type of E. coli O157:H7.

That outbreak claimed 25 victims in 15 states, with nine hospitalizations. One death was reported, in California.

Contaminated romaine lettuce:
E. coli facts and figures

E. coli bacteria are one of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in the United States annually. Most strains are benign, and E. coli are normally found in the intestines of mammals.

Anyone can become infected by E. coli, but people with the highest risk of becoming severely ill include children younger than 5, senior citizens, and people with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of E. coli
E. coli illnesses produce symptoms that are similar to those of other foodborne pathogens:

  • diarrhea, which can be bloody
  • severe abdominal cramping
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • decreased urination.

Symptoms generally last 5-10 days, and most people recover without needing medical attention. Complications can arise, however, and produce dangerous consequences.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)
Up to 10 percent of people infected with E. coli will develop HUS, which can be life-threatening. The overwhelming majority of HUS cases involve children under 5 years old, and the disease is the leading cause of acute kidney failure – also called renal failure – for that age group.

HUS typically develops after a prolonged case of diarrhea. The bacteria damage red blood cells, and that can clog the kidney’s filtering system. If kidney failure results, a kidney transplant is possible.

HUS is fatal 2 percent to 7 percent of the time. Those fatalities usually involve children.

HUS victims who survive can suffer long-term consequences, such as impaired kidney function or hypertension.