The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending against buying or eating any romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless it can be confirmed that the lettuce did not come from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
Over the weekend, health officials expanded their warning about the romaine lettuce linked to the outbreak. So the CDC is urging consumers to avoid romaine lettuce for now if you can not confirm that it came from somewhere other than Yuma. Now, however, it includes whole-head lettuce after several people at an Alaskan correctional facility were infected.
In addition to the eight Alaska inmates, the outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 has sickened at least 53 other people, 31 of whom had to be hospitalized, the CDC said in an updated posted Friday. Although there are no reported deaths yet, about ten percent of the affected consumers have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of lifelong kidney failure. According to the CDC, inmates at a prison in Alaska fell sick after eating whole heads of romaine.
If you have such lettuce at home, the CDC says to throw it away, because it could be tainted with E. coli. During that period, the key California growing regions are too cool or wet for lettuce production, but Arizona winters provide ideal conditions, he said.
The outbreak was originally thought to be connected to chopped romaine lettuce because that's what the restaurants served.
Though the government says the problem lettuce comes from Yuma, Arizona, it remains unclear who grew, supplied or distributed it. The lettuce may be infected with E. coli 0157:H7.
"You're scared to eat anything, just like the reports on the restaurants".
Growers in Yuma typically plant romaine lettuce between September and January.
"Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department", the agency said.
Though there's been no recall, the CDC hasn't given anything close to an "all clear" message since posting its warnings, so the advice still stands.
This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.
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