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CDC: 102 people ill with E. coli amid outbreak

By
Darryl Coote
Since Sept. 24, at least 102 people have fallen ill with E. coli linked to California-grown lettuce. Photo by Jeffery Martin/Wikimedia Commons 
Since Sept. 24, at least 102 people have fallen ill with E. coli linked to California-grown lettuce. Photo by Jeffery Martin/Wikimedia Commons 

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that 102 people in 23 states have fallen sick with E. coli amid an outbreak linked to California-grown lettuce.

Since Sept. 24, at least 58 people have been hospitalized with E. coli with 10 patients suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure, the CDC said.

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The number of cases of people falling ill with the bacteria has increased from 67 in 19 states reported on Nov. 26. However, no one has reported falling ill with E. coli linked to the California-grown lettuce since Nov. 18, two days before the government issued a public warning, the CDC said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said its investigation indicates that romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, Calif., is "a likely source of this outbreak" and is urging the public to not consume the produce if it is labeled to have come from the harvest region.

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"If romaine lettuce does not have information about harvest region or does not indicate that it has been grown indoors, throw it away or return it to the place of purchase," the FDA said. "Consumers ordering salad containing romaine at a restaurant or at a salad bar should ask the staff whether the romaine came from Salinas. If it did, or they do not know, don't eat it."

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The FDA said it has requested that industry voluntarily remove Salinas-grown romaine from the market and withhold distributing the produce for the remainder of the growing season.

"Without more specific traceback information, this was the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine was off the market," it said.

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The romaine lettuce became connected to the outbreak last month when investigators traced E. coli to packages of pre-made salad consumed by people who fell ill with the bacteria, prompting Missa Bay, LLC, to issue a recall for about 75,233 pounds of product.

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