During the past week, the number of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce grew by 31 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This brings the total cases to 84.
Twenty-one percent of the cases (18) have been reported in Pennsylvania, the most from any state, prompting the Governor Wolf administration to warn residents to throw out romaine lettuce.
California and Idaho have also seen cases in the double digits, 13 and 10, respectively.
More than fifty percent of people required hospitalization for their illness.
This is a higher hospitalization rate than usual for E. coli O157:H7 infections, which is usually around 30%. Health officials are working to determine why this strain is causing a higher percentage of hospitalizations.
Nine cases have been treated for the kidney disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS. No deaths have been reported.
Three more states have reported ill people: Colorado, Georgia, and South Dakota., bringing the total states to 19.
CDC’s advice remains the same:
- Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. Ask your suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce.
- If you do not know whether lettuce is romaine, do not eat it. This includes lettuce in a salad mix. 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 advice includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. People get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli an average of 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.
- Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.
- Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department.
- This investigation is ongoing, including work by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state public health agencies to identify the source of the romaine lettuce.