THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Federal health officials are currently investigating a multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli infection linked to romaine lettuce thought to be grown in Salinas, California.
Case numbers have risen from 67 reported a week ago to 102 on Wednesday, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-three states have now reported cases, up from 19 last week. In more than half of the cases (58), illnesses have been so severe that they required hospitalization, although no deaths have yet been reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first issued a warning on Nov. 22 that consumers should avoid all romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California, due to possible contamination with E. coli bacteria. That warning still stands, the agency said.
The FDA noted that the strain of E. coli identified in the current outbreak is a familiar one. "Genetic analysis of the E. coli O157:H7 strains from patients in this current outbreak are similar to strains of E. coli O157:H7 associated with a previous outbreak from the fall of 2017 and the fall of 2018 that affected consumers in both Canada and the United States," the agency said.