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US (AZ): E.coli outbreak continues to take its toll

CDC and FDA updated their websites with new developments to the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak related to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma region. Since the last update on May 16, 2018 the current statistics surrounding the outbreak are:
  • Case Count: 197
  • States: 35
  • Deaths: 5
  • Hospitalizations: 89
  • Recall: No
There are 25 additional reported illnesses and four additional deaths since the last update by CDC.

It takes two to three weeks between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC.

Most of the people who recently became ill ate romaine lettuce when lettuce from the Yuma growing region was likely still available in stores, restaurants, or in peoples' homes. Some people who became sick did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had close contact with someone else who got sick from eating romaine lettuce, i.e. a secondary infection.

These illnesses stretch into May, as the epi curve reflects the last date of onset being May 12.

FDA's Dr. Gottlieb and Dr. Ostroff provided a blog post with more detail about the outbreak, including a redacted traceback diagram.

A Task Force has been formed by CA LGMA, AZ LGMA, United Fresh, Western Growers and PMA that will hold its first meeting next week to evaluate the FDA, CDC and industry data and observations from the outbreak investigation and begin a science and data-drive process of looking into possible causes. 

Publication date: 6/6/2018



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