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Elliot Olsen is a nationally prominent foodborne illness lawyer who has regained millions for his clients. If you or a family member were sickened in this romaine E. coli outbreak, you might have cause to file a lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
The bacteria strain causing the current romaine E. coli outbreak was discovered in a reservoir on a farm in Santa Barbara County, California, federal officials announced.
Officials for the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they are continuing to investigate other possible sources, and the CDC is advising consumers not to eat romaine lettuce grown in California’s Monterey, San Benito and Santa Barbara counties.
“We cannot say how many cases are linked to this specific farm at this time,” Ian Williams, chief of the CDC’s outbreak response and prevention branch, said at a news conference. “We have to do additional work at this farm and other farms that are being identified from our investigation.”
Romaine E. coli outbreak: safe romaine
The CDC said properly labeled romaine lettuce grown outside those three California counties and harvested after Nov. 23, as well as romaine grown hydroponically or in greenhouses, should be safe from contamination. An earlier warning from the CDC against eating romaine from California’s San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties was lifted.
Agency officials stressed that consumers should continue to avoid any romaine lettuce not labeled with the harvest date and location.
Romaine E. coli outbreak: outbreak update
The CDC said it has identified another seven illnesses since an update Dec. 6, bringing the total number of people infected with E. coli to 59 in 15 states and Washington, D.C. The last illness reported was Nov. 16.
Twenty-three people have been hospitalized in the outbreak, and there have been two reported cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a dangerous type of kidney disease. No deaths have been reported.
Those sickened range in age from 1 to 84 years, and the median age is 26. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those infected are female.
Romaine E. coli outbreak: good news?
Williams said it was a good sign that the most recently identified cases occurred during the same period as the main outbreak, but added that it’s too early to call the outbreak over.
“We’re hopeful that it’s moving in the right direction,” he said. “It’s still too early to tell.”
The first cases in this outbreak were identified in October. States with cases include California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
Romaine E. coli outbreak: bacteria info
One of the most common causes of foodborne illness is E. coli bacteria (Escherichia coli), which are normally found in the intestines of mammals. Most strains are benign, but some strains can cause serious illness, primarily by eating contaminated food.
Anyone can become sick by ingesting food contaminated with E. coli, but people with the highest risk of developing HUS include young children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system.
Symptoms are similar to those of other types of food poisoning and include:
- abdominal cramps
- diarrhea, which can become bloody
- no appetite
- decreased urination
Romaine E. coli outbreak: more on HUS
About 10 percent of those infected with E. coli will develop HUS, which can be life-threatening. The majority of HUS cases involve children under the age of 5 years old, and the disease is the leading cause of acute kidney failure for that age group.
HUS usually develops after a prolonged case of diarrhea. The disease damages red blood cells, which can clog the kidney’s filtering system and result in kidney failure. In severe cases, a kidney transplant might be necessary to stay alive.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by food poisoning. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: