Almost 100 people in 22 states have been confirmed with a strain of E. coli contracted from romaine lettuce that was grown in the Yuma, Arizona farming region, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a joint briefing on Friday.
New cases were reported in the last few days in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wisconsin - three states that had previously been unaffected, according to the CDC. Those affected are 65% female and range in age between 1 and 88 years old.
The CDC says even more cases may be reported still as more E. coli victims come forward to seek treatment, at which point hospitals notify the national agency. If you do not know if the lettuce in a salad mix is romaine, do not eat it. This is not a time to be tailoring the message to risk groups. People get sick within two to eight days of swallowing the germ, which causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
The E. Coli outbreak impacting the nation is getting worse.
Neither child developed a type of kidney failure that some patients of severe cases of E. coli suffer, called hemolytic uremic syndrome, the department reported in a blog post, outlining its investigation into the cases.
Consumers are encouraged to not buy romaine lettuce unless they know where it's from.
Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices. The growing season at that farm has ended, but health investigators are planning to visit the farm in an effort to determine the how the lettuce became contaminated.
" We are examining lots of other fields as prospective sources of the [polluted] sliced Romaine lettuce", Harris stated.
Currently, there is no link between this strain and the one in Canada from December 2017, which sickened at least 17 people, officials said.
"Out of an abundance of caution, and in accordance with the CDC Advisory, all products which may contain any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ area have been removed from our shelves". Every winter, the Yuma region provides most of the romaine sold in the U.S.
"We have many lines of evidence suggesting to us right now that all of these illnesses are connected in some way through romaine grown in the Yuma region [of Arizona]", Matthew Wise, the CDC deputy branch chief for Outbreak Response, said during a Friday news briefing.
Disclosure: Wise works for the CDC, Harris works for the FDA. During the 2006 E. coli outbreak involving baby spinach, a different strain that also produces Shiga toxin sickened 238 people, including 103 who were hospitalized and five who died. Those eight cases were at a jail in Alaska.