Mysterious E.coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mysterious E.coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A case of E.coli has been linked to 35 cases of sickness reported in several states, including two in Connecticut.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control said the illnesses are linked to an outbreak of a “Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections.”

On Friday, the CDC announced that chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona could be linked to the outbreak. 

They said consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes that contain romaine lettuce, should not eat it. 

They are telling consumers to discard of the romaine. 

The CDC is also warning consumers to ask restaurants if there is romaine they are using in salads is from Yuma, Arizona before eating it. 

"Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. Ill people range in age from 12 to 84 years, with a median age of 41. Among ill people, 65% are female," officials said. A statement was released from Dr. Matthew Cartter from Connecticut Department of Public Health, which said, in part:

"We are assisting the CDC in investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.  It is still early in the investigation and no specific source of the infection has been identified so far. Most people infected with E. coli will develop diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting within 3-4 days of swallowing the germ.  People who develop symptoms of E. coli, should seek medical care, contact their local health department to report the illness, and try to track what foods were eaten and restaurants visited in the days prior to becoming ill."

Channel 3 spoke with the Director of Infectious Disease, Dr. Virginia Bieluch in Hartford this afternoon after the release of the information. 

"This complication is seen with only a certain type of e coli that makes a toxin called ‘shiga toxin,' said Dr. Bieluch. "You can often see diarrhea and it’s often bloody, bad stomach cramps, vomiting, a little fever. A significant number of these people have been hospitalized, this disease can get very severe."

No deaths have been reported.

Channel 3 met up with some local shoppers picking up groceries who said they heard the news. 

"I bought dinner ingredients, no salad today," said Newington resident, Helen Coleman. I guess I’ll stay away from the romaine until we hear it’s safe."

For more information from the CDC, click here.

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