As people across the United States are still dealing with the romaine lettuce E. coli O157 outbreak, people in Minnesota are now suffering from an E. Coli infection.
E. Coli Reaches Minnesota
On May 8, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed that 10 residents in the state were sickened from E. coli O157 from romaine lettuce. Nine of the victims are women. They live in both metro and greater Minnesota counties.
The victims got in contact with the infection between April 20 and May 2. They were exposed to the E. Coli bacteria in restaurants, grocery stories, and in residences.
Three victims were hospitalized. Two people also developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a disease caused by abnormal destruction of blood cells that could lead to kidney failure.
Although roughly 135 cases of E. coli O157 are reported every year in Minnesota, this is the first time that this particular national outbreak has reached the North Star State.
As a result, the Minnesota Department of Health is now investigating the outbreak with the assistance of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How Bad Has The E. Coli Outbreak Been?
The 2018 romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak has sickened 121 people across the United States. One person from California is dead as a result of the infection. The first cases of the outbreak were publicly announced in March.
"This is a pretty significant outbreak. It's the largest one that we've had since 2006, and 14 people have developed what's known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is acute kidney failure," food safety lawyer Bill Marler told NPR. "So one person has died from hemolytic uremic syndrome, but several other people have [had to] have dialysis, plasmapheresis transplants."
What Should People Do About The E. Coli Outbreak?
Most of the lettuce that had E. coli O157 were from the Yuma, Arizona, area. The CDC recommends that people dispose of lettuce from that region. In addition, people should only eat romaine lettuce if they know where it was grown.
"Do not eat, buy, or sell romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region," said Kirk Smith, manager of the Foodborne, Waterborne, Vectorborne, and Zoonotic Diseases section in Minnesota. "The Yuma growing region includes part of western Arizona and extends into the Imperial Valley of southeastern California, but does not include Salinas Valley or other growing regions in California."