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Advice to travellers is that if they have symptoms of an E. coli infection, they should take action and talk to their healthcare provider. Some people who became sick did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had close contact with someone else who got sick from eating romaine lettuce.
While most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, it can produce toxins that lead to severe illness.
Symptoms, which begin about three to four days after consuming the bacteria, can include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC. The bacteria can be spread by contaminated water, animal manure or in undercooked beef. Twenty-six developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure that can be life-threatening to people with weak immune systems, such as young children and the elderly.
Q: What caused the massive E. coli illness outbreak from romaine lettuce? The source of the contaminated lettuce is still being investigated.
"Any contaminated product from the Yuma growing region has already worked its way through the food supply and is no longer available for consumption". In a blog post, Scott Gottlieb, commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and deputy commissioner Stephen Ostroff, said they were looking for the cause. "This takes an average of two to three weeks". Food is often shipped to central plants from various farms, where it is processed, mixed together, packaged, and redistributed. So far, the outbreak has sickened people ages 12 to 84. At the time, 17 people had been infected with the E. coli strain from seven states but no source had been identified. But the agency had a more hard time mapping supply chains for the bagged lettuce, which moved through multiple growers, processors and distributors before landing on plates.
"It's a labor-intensive task". A total of 197 people have been affected by E. coli so far with 89 needing hospitalization as a result.