Sick prisoners in Nome tied to E.coli concerns in Arizona lettuce

Stock Image  Pixabay

Stock Image Pixabay

US health officials on Friday told consumers to throw away any store-bought romaine lettuce they have in their kitchens and warned restaurants not to serve it amid an E. coli outbreak that has sickened more than 50 people in several states.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that consumers should avoid all types of romaine lettuce from southwest Arizona because of the outbreak.

The CDC's updated advisory said consumers nationwide should not buy or eat romaine lettuce from a grocery store or restaurant unless they can get confirmation it did not come from Yuma. "If you can not determine the source of your romaine lettuce, throw it away and don't eat it", the FDA warns.

The CDC said no deaths have been reported but 31 people have been hospitalized, including five who developed a type of kidney failure. While the warnings focus on store-bought romaine lettuce, the warning does extend to all restaurants, as well.

Forty-one (95%) of 43 people interviewed reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started.

"If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away". "The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads".

"No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time", the CDC said.

The new warning comes after investigators discovered that inmates from a correctional facility in Alaska became ill after reportedly eating lettuce "from whole heads of romaine lettuce" from the affected region, the CDC said.

This pathogenic bacteria produces compounds called Shiga toxins, which cause hemorrhagic colitis, which destroys the tissue lining the colon.

ADHS is working with local health departments, the CDC and the FDA to confirm the source of the E. coli O157 infections, to identify additional cases, and to prevent the spread of the disease.

Pritzker Hageman, America's food safety law firm, successfully represents people harmed by adulterated food products, such as romaine lettuce implicated in this E. coil O157:H7 HUS outbreak, throughout the United States.

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