1st death linked to romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

Riley Steinbrenner  The Badger Herald

The 2018 E. coli outbreak connected to tainted romaine lettuce has claimed its first death: a California resident. Nine people were killed and more than 700 people got sick across 46 states.

The rest of the sicknesses aren't linked to Harrison Farms and investigators continue to probe the source of the chopped romaine lettuce causing the illness.

Those infected with E. coli will typically kill the infection on their own naturally.

So far 52 people have been hospitalized, including 14 with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney complication.

Additional outbreak illnesses are expected to be reported in the coming weeks, according to the CDC.

Infection from E. coli typically manifests within two to eight days after a person swallows the germ, the agency said.

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Of those affected, 63 percent are women and they range in age between 1 and 88 years old with a median age of 29. Pharmacists can play an important role in educating patients on foodborne illness prevention strategies.

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration amended the Safety Modernization Act with the Produce Safety Rule, which established standards for safe growing and packing of fruits and vegetables. That outbreak was limited to an Alaska prison. "At this time, ill people are not reporting whole heads or hearts of romaine". Many restaurants have removed their romaine lettuce products, even those that are not from the Yuma growing region as a precaution. Romaine harvest at the farm concluded March 16, according to the FDA.

Romaine is the second-most popular leafy green in America. Maybe to stave off a public freak-out, the Feds add that they have "identified dozens of other fields" as possible sources. The agency has pinned the outbreak on contaminated romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region.

That's why the health department recommends that you not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm where it was grown.

Michelle Codd, a customer from Ellwood Thompson, spoke with 8News about her concerns with romaine lettuce.

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