Montana Reports Cases of Illness Linked to Romaine Lettuce

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Pennsylvania has the highest number of people infected, followed by Idaho and New Jersey.

Consumers who purchased romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eat the same at any restaurant should confirm that it is not the chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. None of the reported cases to this point are in Utah. "This takes an average of two to three weeks".

Health officials said these people became ill between March 22 and March 31; the majority of them reported that they ate romaine lettuce within a week before they became sick.

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Illnesses have been reported in CT (2), Idaho (8), IL (1), MI (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), NY (2), OH (2), Pennsylvania (9), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). Some people infected with E. Coli also present with a low-grade fever below 101 degrees, but most get better within five to seven days.

- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

This recommendation goes beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation, which is to confirm that any bagged romaine didn't originate in the Yuma area before purchasing.

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This is not the first time romaine lettuce were linked to the spread of E. coli.

"Consumer Reports is making this recommendation given the potentially fatal consequences of E. coli, the fact that there are still several unknowns about this outbreak, and that no type of romaine has been ruled definitively safe by government officials", Consumer Reports Director of Food Safety Research and Testing James E. Rogers, Ph.D., said.

The CDC reports that this investigation remains active, and that it will provide an update when it can.

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Symptoms usually vary from person to person. The CDC advises anyone with these symptoms to seek medical attention as E. coli infection is typically diagnosed via a stool sample. More adverse cases would lead to bloody diarrhea, dehydration and even kidney failure.

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