One person has died from the E. coli romaine outbreak linked to Yuma, Arizona. The death, in California, is the first known fatality from this outbreak. The CDC also reported 23 additional cases of illness, bringing the total to 121 since the outbreak began in March. The most recent illnesses reported began experiencing symptoms April 21.
E.Coli is bacteria that normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. While most strains are harmless, the one found in recent patients, 0157: H7, is a specific strain that can cause serious illness. Symptoms of E.Coli typically begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, although most patients become ill three or four days after consumption. These symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Most people recover in five to seven days. However, those most at risk include the very young, the very old and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Deadly E. Coli Romaine Outbreak
This romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak is the worst E. coli outbreak since 2006. In 2006, the CDC traced spinach tainted by E.coli from cow manure from a single California farm, which killed three and sickened almost 300. The CDC and FDA originally thought a single farm, Harrisons Farms of Yuma in Arizona is the source for this current outbreak. However, the agencies are now checking over two dozen Yuma, Arizona farms. Even though the growing season is over, the affected romaine could still be in groceries stores and in American homes.
“If you do not know whether lettuce is romaine, do not eat it. This includes lettuce in a salad mix,” the CDC said in an advisory.
Package labels often do not identify growing regions. CDC is advising consumers not to eat or buy romaine lettuce if they do not know where it was grown. This included whole heads, hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, salad and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.
Difficult Tracking the Source
It can be difficult for the CDC to track foodborne illness outbreaks. Contamination can happen at any stage of the growing or processing of food. Sometimes factories mix produce from several different farms before it’s shipped to different parts of the country. This makes it difficult to trace the source to a single farm, also several farms could be the outbreak source. Two adjacent fields could share a contaminated water source. This is why foodborne illnesses are so common. The CDC says 48 million people get sick from some kind of foodborne infection every year in the U.S. The most common sources are meat, milk, other dairy products, eggs, fresh vegetables, frozen foods, and shellfish. Scarily, lettuce is also a commonly infected produce since it is difficult to ensure it stays sterile.
Deadly Side Effects
Now, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Utah are the latest states to report illnesses. This brings the total number of states affected to 25. Nearly half of the 52 who reported getting sick from the lettuce has been hospitalized. Also, 14 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Last week, the CDC said the strain identified in this outbreak is particularly virulent and known to be associated with higher hospitalization and complication rates.
Get Legal Help
E. Coli is bacteria that can cause serious, sometimes fatal, infections in humans. The CDC estimates the bacteria causes 2,000 hospitalizations each year. Plus, 10% go on to develop more serious complications like hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS can cause kidney failure, damage to the central nervous system, and ultimately death. Therefore, this is why it is important to seek representation if you are a victim of the multistate E.Coli outbreak or any foodborne contamination. An experienced attorney like those at The Michael Brady Lynch Firm can help you receive compensation for your losses. We have over 20 years representing injured consumers and will use every avenue to get you justice.