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E.Coli Outbreak Linked to Lettuce Now in California

ATLANTA (CBS13) - California is now added to a multi-state E.coli outbreak linked to chopped romaine lettuce.

The Centers for Disease Control expanded the outbreak to include 16 states. Previously it only covered 11 states; however, new illnesses were reported in California, Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana and Montana. Nine people were hospitalized in the past week, including two people who developed kidney failure.

Since the outbreak started March 13th, 53 people have been infected with the E.coli outbreak strain. 31 of those have been hospitalized, including five with kidney failure. The CDC did caution illnesses occurring after March 29 aren't reflected in the latest statistics due to how long it takes someone to become ill with E.coli and when the illness is then reported. Typically it takes two to three weeks.

A map on the CDC website shows California has registered one case so far.

No deaths have been reported.

The chopped romaine lettuce comes from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. No common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has been identified yet, according to the CDC. Health officials in the 16 states involved in the outbreak have interviewed 43 people with E.coli. 41 of them (95%) said they ate romaine lettuce in the week before getting sick. Many of them said they ate the lettuce at a restaurant. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make the salads.

Consumers are advised to throw away and not eat any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, including salad and salad mixes. The CDC also advises people to confirm with a store or restaurant about the origin of romaine lettuce before buying or eating it.

Restaurants and retailers are being told to ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce and to not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce coming from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

The 16 states included in the outbreak are: California, Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Missouri, Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Pennsylvania has registered the most cases of E.coli- 12.

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