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For your health, it may be best to skip the salad this Thanksgiving. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that romaine lettuce is, yet again, unsafe after at least 32 people in 11 states have gotten sick from the same strain of E.coli. The outbreak has also sickened Canadians, prompting the Canadian government to issue a public health alert as well.
While the outbreak hasn’t resulted in any deaths or official recalls, 13 people have been hospitalized, one of whom has kidney failure. The CDC is investigating the outbreak to determine a common source of the contaminated lettuce.
The good news is that this outbreak is a different strain of E.coli than the previous outbreak in the United States this year, which caused five deaths and over 200 illnesses.
What are the symptoms of E.coli?
Symptoms of E.coli can vary, but generally begin three to four days after ingesting contaminated food or drink. Common symptoms include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Most people are able to recover within a week, but severe cases can last longer. The CDC recommends contacting your doctor if you have symptoms of an E.coli infection.
How can you avoid getting sick?
To reduce your risk of getting an E.coli infection from romaine lettuce, throw out any store-bought romaine lettuce you may have at home, even if some of it was already eaten and no one has gotten sick.
The CDC warning includes all types of romaine lettuce, including heads, hearts, chopped and salad mixes. If you’re not sure if you have romaine lettuce or if your salad mix contains romaine lettuce, don’t risk it. Do not eat it, but throw it out. The CDC also recommends that you clean your refrigerator where your romaine lettuce was stored.
The CDC is currently investigating the outbreak and will work to determine its source. In the meantime, avoid eating romaine lettuce. To keep up with the outbreak, click here.
If you’re looking for more guidance on steps to take during an e.coli outbreak, contact us.