The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 53 people have now been hospitalized after being infected with the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria. That's up from 31 hospitalizations last week. So far, no deaths have been reported.
The outbreak stems from chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
The outbreak has spread to 16 states. Five more – Alaska, Arizona, California, Louisiana, and Montana – were added to the list of 11 affected states: Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.
The CDC issued two advisories.
Advice to Consumers:
- Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
- Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.
Advice to Restaurants and Retailers:
- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
- Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.
E. coli symptoms include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting and typically show up between two and eight days after consumption. The CDC recommends the following food safety precautions to avoid many types of food-borne illnesses including infections from E. coli bacteria.
Food Safety Precautions
1. Wash your hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
2. Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Steaks and roasts should be cooked to at least 145˚F and let rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove. Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
3. Don't cross-contaminate food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
4. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
5. Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
6. Don't prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.