Romaine-linked E. coli outbreak reaches Nebraska

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What you need to know about the E. coli outbreak on romaine lettuce

The outbreak is blamed on E. coli bacteria in romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona.

It might be safe to eat romaine lettuce again. Since romaine lettuce has a shelf life of several weeks, it is possible some contaminated lettuce may still be in stores, restaurants, or home refrigerators.

The last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region were harvested April 16.

Any romaine lettuce being sold now is nearly certainly not from the Yuma, Arizona region and so unlikely to carry the E. coli bacteria that's been making people sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

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According to the DHS website, nationwide, 149 people from 29 states have been infected. More cases may get reported, but the shelf-life of romaine lettuce is not long and no more is being harvested from the affected area. Of 157 people with information available, 75 (48%) have been hospitalized, including 20 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. The death in California remains the only one in this outbreak.

The outbreak has been caused by a particularly virulent strain of E. coli O157:H7.

The Food and Drug Administration identified one farm, Harrison Farms, as the source of the whole-head romaine lettuce that sickened several people at a correctional facility in Alaska; however, the agency doesn't know where in the supply chain the contamination occurred. A previous warning was limited to chopped forms of romaine, including salads and salad mixes. Iowa and OR also reported their first lettuce-related E. coli cases in the past week. The agency is still investigating dozens of other farms to find the source of that E. Coli outbreak.

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