This is a health alert regarding the recent outbreak of E. coli linked to contaminated romaine lettuce that has claimed at least one life in California.
E. Coli Contaminated Lettuce Claims Life in California
A recent outbreak of E. coli linked to contaminated romaine lettuce has claimed the life of at least one California resident.
At the time of this writing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 149 cases have been reported.
- 29 States have reported cases.
- 64 hospitalizations have been reported.
- 1 death in California recently occurred as a direct result of the contamination, and;
- The outbreak is tied to romaine lettuce originating from Yuma, AZ.
The CDC predicts the outbreak will continue and the hospitalization count will rise due to delays in the onset of symptoms and illness identification.
According to the Los Angeles Times;
The strain of E. coli has been identified as one that produces strong versions of Shiga toxins, which bind to blood cells and can destroy organ linings — a scenario that has sent 52 people to hospitals, including 10 with kidney failure, the CDC said.
That hospitalization rate is far higher than usual, the agency added.
Consumers are currently advised to avoid the purchase of romaine lettuce from supermarkets unless the supermarket can verify the point of origin was not Yuma, AZ–the same goes for restaurant owners and managers.
However, there are several issues with this advice:
- Several distributors bring in lettuce from farms all over the country.
- There is no way for anyone to guarantee the origin of a product they did not grow themselves.
This, unfortunately, leaves only one alternative–don’t purchase or consume romaine lettuce, or products containing romaine lettuce until the outbreak has been confirmed as over by the CDC.
Know Your STEC
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, is a dangerous and sometimes deadly strain of E. coli that affects everyone, from children under 5 to healthy adults over 65 years old.
According to the CDC, STEC infections cause (per year):
- 265,000 illnesses.
- 3,600 hospitalizations, and;
- 30 deaths.
- Stomach cramps.
- Infrequent urination.
- Loss of color in the face.
- Diahreah–potentially bloody, and;
- A low-grade fever, approximately 101 degrees or less.
In most individuals, symptoms abate after approximately five to seven days.
However, in more severe cases, hospitalization is required when the illness leads to:
- Respiratory tract infections.
- Urinary tract infections, and;
- Bloodstream infections.
Washing lettuce does not remove E. coli contamination.
E. coli originates inside humans and is passed through the ingestion of contaminated feces.
To aid in the prevention of the spread of E. coli and other dangerous germs:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating, and before and after preparing a meal or bottle for infants.
- Cook foods thoroughly, according to instructions.
- Avoid the consumption of raw foods, and;
- Avoid cross-contamination.
Avoiding cross-contamination is a byproduct of:
- Storing raw foods away from cooked or prepared foods, and;
- Implementing a cleaning and disinfection program that leverages color-coded microfiber combined with the two-bucket cleaning method.
References & Resources
- Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Cases Climb: What You Need to Know
- CDC: 1 Person In California Dead From Romaine Lettuce Linked To E. Coli Outbreak
- California reports 1st death in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak
- Dozens Of Victims Are Still Coping With The E. Coli Outbreak In Romaine Lettuce
E. coli is a normal gut bacteria found in humans and animals and is typically benign in people with healthy immune systems.
However, several strains of E. coli, specifically O157, can lead to serious health issues.
The best way to prevent the spread of these dangerous bacteria is through proper food handling and safety precautions, combined with thorough hand-hygiene practices and policies.
The addition of green cleaning practices focused on a clean for health first approach will further aid in the removal of these bacteria from common high-contact surfaces, specifically in schools, hospitals, restrooms, cafeterias, and restaurants.
If you would like to learn more about green cleaning and safe disinfection practices to prevent the spread of E. coli and other dangerous germs–contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253