Healthy romaine lettuce is back on shelves after E. coli outbreak

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Who doesn't? There is no need to freak out about the recent E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.

Three more states - Iowa, Nebraska, and OR - have also reported cases, the CDC said.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's information about the outbreak, there have been 64 hospitalizations and one death during the months of March and April.

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Because of a lag in the reporting of illnesses to the CDC, the most recent E. coli cases started when romaine from the Yuma region was likely still in stores, restaurants, and homes. If you can not be certain a salad is free of romaine lettuce, do not eat it.

Romaine lettuce has a shelf life of about 21 days.

Wednesday's CDC news release upped the total illness count to 172 people across 32 different states. The latest reported illness started on May 2, 2018, officials said. According to the CDC, 20 victims had developed the dreaded hemolytic uremic syndrome, a severe outcome of E. coli infections that targets the kidneys.

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Ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 29. Of those who became ill, 75 have been hospitalized, including 20 with kidney failure. Those states include Colorado, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. One fatality has been reported.

Talk to your health care provider if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified people in several Canadian provinces infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7. Many of these pathogenic E. coli cause diarrhea and are referred to as diarrheagenic E. coli.

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