Wednesday, April 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) – The outbreak of E. coli disease continues to expand with the fouling of Arizona Romaine's salad, federal health officials said Wednesday.
"Since the last update on April 13, 2018, 18 more sick people have been added to the investigation, raising the total to 53," according to a press release from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The diseases were identified as being associated with a particularly virulent disease of E. coli O157: H7. Cases have been reported in five other states, the CDC added, bringing the total number of affected states to 16.
Although no deaths were reported, "31 out of 48 [cases] with available information (65 percent) were hospitalized, including five who developed one type of renal failure, the hemolytic uremic syndrome," the CDC reported.
"This is a higher hospitalization rate than in E. coli O1
The diseases include 12 cases in Pennsylvania, 10 cases in Idaho, seven cases in New Jersey, six cases in Montana, three cases in Arizona, two cases each in Connecticut, Michigan, New York, and Ohio, and one case each in Alaska, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia, and Washington.
The CDC said "chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region" could be contaminated with E. coli E.157: H7 and could make the patient ill. "
The agency's advice? "People who bought home-baked romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes with minced romaine lettuce, should not eat and throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and nobody got sick."  And the CDC added that restaurants should avoid buying and serving romaine lettuce from the Yuma region, Arizona.
As far as consumers are concerned, "Before you buy a romaine lettuce in a grocery store or eat in a restaurant, confirm that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region, if you can not confirm the origin of the salad, Do not buy it or I eat, "said the CDC.
The agency emphasized that E. coli disease can be very serious, even fatal.
Usually disease begins "on average three to four days after swallowing the germ. People get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting," the CDC said.
For most, recovery takes a week, but more severe cases take longer.
"Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of E. coli infection and report your condition to your local Ministry of Health," the agency said.
Learn about E. coli at foodsafety.gov.
SOURCE: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Press Release, April 18, 2018