The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to include all types of romaine lettuce. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
The CDC also asks consumers to “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.”
Additionally, the CDC suggests that consumers throw away any romaine lettuce in the home, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.
There have been at least 98 people infected with E. coli in 22 states. At least 46 people have been hospitalized, including 10 who developed a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.
No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.
The CDC has not yet identified the grower or a common brand, and is urging people not to eat chopped lettuce from the Yuma area.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.
People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.
DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.
To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:
- Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food and after contact with animals.
- Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
- Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw meat.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized juices.
- Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.