The nationwide food poisoning outbreak from E. coli-tainted romaine lettuce has spread to 29 states and sickened 149 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
People typically fall ill two to five days after exposure, and most recover in five to 10 days if they don't develop complications. Three were hospitalized, including two who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal complication that can include kidney failure and other severe problems. One death was reported from California which was previously reported in the May 2 update. While lettuce from this region should have been removed from grocery stores by now, state health officials warned consumers to check their refrigerators.
Most people start feeling sick a few days after eating or drinking food contaminated with the bacteria, but it can take up to 10 days for symptoms to start. The Yuma region grows the overwhelming majority of the lettuce and other leafy greens consumed in the United States in the winter months through early April, before shifting to California's Central Valley and Salinas Valley. However, E. coli O157 infections sometimes lead to HUS.
Information on the national outbreak can be found on CDC's and FDA's websites: CDC: E. coli and FDA Investigating Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Likely Linked to Romaine Lettuce from Yuma Growing Region. Anyone who believes they may have developed an E. coli O157 infection should contact their health care provider. The rest of the cases involve chopped lettuce that did not come from the Yuma farm, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.