"We expect more reports of illnesses as there is a delay of two weeks between the time a person becomes ill and when it is confirmed to be part of an outbreak," said Matthew Wise, deputy director of the outbreak response branch in the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases of the CDC.
Forty-six of the sick individuals have been hospitalized, a rate higher than the 30% that is typically observed in E. coli outbreaks.
"CDC laboratory tests have confirmed that the strain of Shiga toxin producing E. coli O157: H7 that causes this outbreak produces a type of toxin that tends to cause more serious disease, which may explain why there is a high hospitalization rate. "the agency said in an outbreak investigation update on Friday.
Ten of the hospitalized patients have developed a type of renal failure associated with E. coli called hemolytic uremic syndrome. They are between the ages of 18 and 87, and three of them are children, according to the CDC.
People who most recently became ill started experiencing symptoms on April 20. These symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. They begin, on average, three or four days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people recover in five to seven days. Those who are most at risk of contracting E. coli are the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems.
"This is serious, and everyone should avoid premature ejaculation," Wise said, adding that the advice for consumers is all, not limited to specific groups, such as those at higher risk of serious illness.
That advice: "Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm that it is not from the growing region of Yuma, Arizona." Restaurants and retailers must not serve or sell romaine lettuce from the growing region of Yuma, Arizona. "
The growing season in the Yuma region runs from November to March and then moves north to Salinas, California, during the summer, the move is under way, and some farms in Yuma have completed their season, but the FDA said it can not confirm that no more lettuce is being sent from the region based on the information it has from industry organizations.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have yet to identify a brand, manufacturer, supplier or farm as the source of E. coli contamination, however, they identified Harrison Farms in Yuma as the producer of all the heads of romaine lettuce that caused illness in eight inmates at a correctional institution in Nome, Alaska The growing season on that farm is over, but health researchers are pl I was planning to visit the farm in an effort to determine how the lettuce was contaminated.
The CDC emphasized that although the other 90 cases of disease are related to the eight in Alaska, those 90 are of lettuce in chopped bags, and that source of contamination remains a mystery.
"At this point, we are seeing the whole spectrum" of the supply chain, "said Wise." As we move forward in the distribution of the product, we are looking for places of convergence where pollution may have occurred. We are looking at each producer or carrier or supplier to see if there is a convergence. "
There is no evidence that lettuce grown outside the Yuma region is part of this outbreak, according to Stic Harris, director of the Coordinated Food Network. response and evaluation of outbreaks from the FDA.
"There is no killing step," said Harris, noting that he himself eats romaine lettuce several times a day. week