The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the multi-state E. coli outbreak has infuriated 149 people, including five in Georgia.
The infections were associated with romaine lettuce in Yuma, Arizona. Area
E. Coli is a bacterial agent that can cause severe infections in humans, including bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that can lead to kidney failure. The infection can be fatal in some cases.
Among the first four infected Georgians two were hospitalized, according to Cherie Drenzek, the state epidemiologist with the Ministry of Public Health. The two had HUS, but both recovered, she said last week.
The fifth infection that was confirmed by Public Health just last week. The agency gave no further information about the five infected persons.
The CDC said the outbreak has now spread to 29 states. A person in California died of it.
Drenzek said that the Yuma-Roma season ended on April 1
The CDC said some diseases that have occurred in the last two to three weeks are due to the time lag between the time a person is suffering from E. coli and the time the infection is reported to the agency will, possibly not yet officially known
give the following recommendations to consumers:
You may not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm that it is not from the Yuma growing region.
Product labels often do not identify any growing areas, so do not eat or buy romaine lettuce if you do not know where it was grown.
This advice includes whole heads and hearts of Romans, chopped romaine lettuce, baby lyrics, organic romaine and salads and salad mixes with romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the salad in a salad mix is novel, do not eat it.
Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of E. coli infection and report your condition to your local health authority.
People get an average of three to four days after ingestion of contaminated Shiga toxin-producing E. coli foods. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. People generally recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be heavier, the CDC noted.
E. Coli infections can also spread from one person to another through germs on the hands. To prevent infection, it is important to follow proper hygiene practices: wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers, and before and after preparation or eating.