Many people have been reported to have fallen sick after consuming romaine lettuce. Around 98 people from 22 states have been affected. The numbers are only rising. And, the latest addition to the list is three more new states, viz., Mississippi, Wisconsin and Tennessee.
Earlier, it was thought that standalone romaine or when used in mixed salad was responsible for the condition. However, last week, the warning was revised and included all types of romaine – chopped, organic and baby romaine, whole heads and hearts of romaine.
This came after some people at a correctional facility in Alaska fell sick after consuming food having whole romaine lettuce.
Matthew Wise, deputy branch chief at Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that people should not eat romaine lettuce unless they are sure that it hasn’t come from the Yuma-growing region.
Yuma, Arizona is the location, which is said to be the source of E. Coli outbreak. Experts have not been able to locate the farms and are not sure if the contamination occurred during harvesting, packing or distribution of lettuce.
The CDC identified a farm associated with the outbreak, but later confirmed that it is not the source for the majority of the cases. The farm, known as Harrison Farms of Yuma, is considered responsible for Alaska cases that involved whole romaine, but it is not associated with the rest of the cases that have been linked with chopped romaine.
Wise added that they have not been able to figure out, where the contamination happened in the supply chain. The U.S. FDA is examining some dozens of farms that could be the possible sources of the infection outbreak.
Romaine lettuce has been contaminated with a very serious strain of E. Coli, which causes bloody diarrhea and even failure of the kidneys.
The bacteria associated with the outbreak is E. Coli O157:H7. Consumption of the lettuce having the bacteria results in vomiting, bloody stool/diarrhea and cramps. People may generally recover in a week’s time. However, some severe cases may take more time to recover and even need hospitalization.
Considering the gravity of spread of E. Coli infection, the FDA has recently issued a warning to Gate Gourmet, an airline catering company, regarding the not-so-healthy state of its catering facility. The food products at its facility are adulterated as they are made or packed under unhealthy conditions. The FDA cited that there are cockroaches all across the facility, grease buildup, filth and food deposits on cooking equipment, standing water, and food residue on the floors and tools.
Food ain’t the only issue in airlines. The quality of water on the planes is also really poor. So, it is advisable to order the bottled one. Although more dangerous organisms like E. Coli were not found, but the bacteria in the aircraft water tanks could certainly make the travelers ill.
As far as the severity of the current E. Coli outbreak is concerned, around 53% people have been admitted in the hospital, compared to 30% as observed in most E. Coli outbreaks. About 10 odd people have also been identified with hemolytic-uremic syndrome. This number includes three children.
It is probably a very massive outbreak as a 2006 outbreak associated with spinach harmed around only 200 people. Nevertheless, people did fall severely ill in that outbreak.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is associated with fever, fatigue, bleeding and decrease in urination and this can result in high blood pressure, neurological and kidney issues. Hemolytic uremic syndrome generally affects children and elderly, but it could make anyone seriously ill.
However, the good news is that nobody has died in this outbreak.