Five people in Washington state have reported sickness from E. coli food poisoning, as part of the widespread outbreak linked to romaine lettuce that has sickened almost 100 people in about two dozen states.
Given that most of the patients sickened in the outbreak had been exposed to chopped romaine, representing several subclusters, he said the FDA will be looking at dozens of farms in the Yuma growing region. "If you have symptoms, including bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and vomiting, we urge you to contact your healthcare provider".
Matthew Wise, the deputy branch chief for outbreak response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the New York Times, "This is a serious E. coli". Forty-six people have been hospitalized, including 10 with kidney failure, which is an unusually high number of hospitalizations.
The CDC says no deaths attributed to the outbreak have been reported.
Most of the people who are sick have lived in California or Pennsylvania, but at least one case has been reported in 22 different states.
CDC'S Matt Wise said everyone should avoid eating romaine lettuce unless it's clearly not from the Yuma.
Fourteen more ill persons have been added to this outbreak since the last update two days ago.
The CDC emphasized that although the other 90 cases of illness are linked to the eight in Alaska, those 90 are from chopped bagged lettuce, and that contamination source remains a mystery.
The CDC repeated its advice that people not eat or buy romaine lettuce, which is commonly used in salads, unless they can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region.
Speaking at the news briefing, he stressed that other area farms could also be affected. "Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten". A Facebook page indicates the farms grow or have grown cotton and wheat in addition to lettuce. First recognized as a food borne pathogen in 1982, E.coli has the ability to produce Shiga toxin, which can inhibit protein synthesis in cells that line the interior of blood vessels.
Officials said romaine lettuce products from a farm in Yuma harvested between March 5 and March 16 of this year are the source of the contaminated lettuce that made eight inmates at a prison in Alaska ill.
"At this point, we are looking at the whole spectrum" of the supply chain, said Stic Harris, director of the FDA's Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network.
This is the most significant Shiga-toxin producing E.coli break out considering that a 2006 break out connected to spinach grown in the Salinas Valley in California, Wise stated.
Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick. Romaine confirmed not to be from the Yuma area is OK to eat.
The outbreak first began in April.