SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and other state and local health departments, is investigating a multi-state cluster of E. coli infections linked to chopped romaine lettuce.
Information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick. At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified.
One case linked to the outbreak has been identified in Illinois. To date, 35 other cases have been reported in 11 states with 22 hospitalizations and no deaths. The Illinois resident reported consuming chopped romaine lettuce before illness onset, in central Illinois.
Consumers in Illinois who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.
If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away. Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.
Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.
People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli two-eight days after swallowing the germ. Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. Most people recover within one week although some illnesses can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Talk to your health care provider if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department. You can also write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick and talk to public health investigators if they have questions about your illness.
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