In early April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the red flag on an E. coli outbreak that had affected 17 people across 7 states.
In the weeks since then, that total has grown to 84 individual cases reported, stretching across 19 states. Forty-two of those affected have been hospitalized, including nine who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported to date.
The specific source of the outbreak has not yet been identified. However, the CDC has traced it to Yuma, Arizona, and believe that romaine lettuce grown in the region could be contaminated. As a result, the CDC has advised consumers to avoid whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce, unless they can confirm the lettuce did not come from Yuma.
The CDC says the investigation is on-going as it tries to pinpoint a single grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce as the culprit.
The cases reported to date began between March 13 and April 12, affecting people of all ages. Sixty-five percent of those ill are female. Since the CDC’s last update, the outbreak has spread to Colorado, Georgia, and South Dakota.
Pennsylvania has been the hardest hit with 18 cases, followed by California with 13. Ten cases have been reported in Idaho, and seven or fewer cases each in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Virginia, and Washington.