Recent E. Coli Outbreak Traced to Lettuce From One Farm: CDC

Romaine lettuce likely source of bacteria that sickened 60 people, investigation reveals

Topics: Centers for Disease Control E coli Food & Nutrition: Misc Kidney Problems: Misc Safety & Public Health: Misc Safety: Food

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Romaine lettuce from one farm was the likely source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened 60 people in 10 states between Oct. 10 and Nov. 30, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Illnesses were reported in Missouri (37), Illinois (9), Kansas (3), Minnesota (3), Arkansas (2), Indiana (2), and Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, and Nebraska (all with one case each). People who became ill ranged in age from 1 to 94 years.

Information available for 45 of the ill people shows that 30 were hospitalized and two developed severe kidney disease. There were no deaths, the CDC researchers noted.

Some of the contaminated romaine lettuce was sold in the salad bars of grocery stores belonging to St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, the company said Thursday. The CDC said the lettuce was contaminated prior to distribution to the grocery store chain.

"What they're telling us is they have tracked it back to one particular farm," Schnucks spokeswoman Lori Willis told the Associated Press. Neither Schnucks nor the CDC provided the location of the farm.

The actual source of the E. coli O157:H7 contamination on the farm was not pinpointed and the farm was no longer in production at the time of the investigation, the CDC said.

The agency also said the E. coli outbreak appears to be over, and consumers should no longer avoid eating lettuce from Schnucks or any other store.

People infected with E. coli O157:H7 often develop diarrhea (sometimes bloody) and abdominal cramps two to eight days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people recover within a week, but some have a more severe infection that can lead to kidney failure, the CDC said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about E. coli infection.

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