CDC: Throw out your romaine lettuce - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

CDC: Throw out your romaine lettuce

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(Quincy Media) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Americans on Friday to throw away romaine lettuce unless they could clearly identify where it came from.

CDC officials previously warned of certain types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region, attributed to a multistate E. coli outbreak. Friday, they expanded the warning to all types including whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

The warning Friday afternoon said should not buy or eat lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant, unless you can confirm where it came from.

"Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick," the CDC states. "Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re uncertain about where it was grown. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away."

The CDC expanded the warning due to newly reported illnesses in Alaska.

"Ill people in Alaska reported eating lettuce from whole heads of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region," the CDC stated.

At the time of this publication, 53 cases, 31 hospitalizations, but no deaths, were reported across 16 states.

CDC Advice to Consumers:

  • Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.
  • Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re uncertain about where it was grown. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

CDC Advice to Restaurants and Retailers:

  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.
  • Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce.

Signs and Symptoms of an E. coli infection:

  • People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after swallowing the germ.
    • Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea that can be bloody, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.
    • Most people recover within 1 week.
    • Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.
  • Some people with a STEC infection may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
    • HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children younger than 5 years, adults aged 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems.
    • HUS develops about 7 days after symptoms first appear, when diarrhea is improving.
    • Clues that someone is developing HUS include
      • decreased frequency of urination,
      • feeling very tired, and
      • losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.
    • People with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems.
    • Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.
  • E. coli infection is usually diagnosed by testing a stool sample.

You can see the CDC's release Friday and previous releases here.

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