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Texas added to list of states reporting E. coli outbreak form lettuce

Romaine lettuce is recalled after a 10 cases are reported in Minnesota

An E. coli outbreak stemming from romaine lettuce illness has spread to Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

While the death count associated with the outbreak remains at one, the CDC has linked 149 illnesses in 29 states to the outbreak, which has been traced back to lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, area. The ages of those who were sickened ranges from 1 to 88, and 65 percent were female.

There have been illness reports from 28 more people in 12 states since May 2, according to the CDC. The CDC has not issued a formal recall, but it has urged consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce unless they can confirm that it did not come from Yuma.

Romaine lettuce shouldn't be sold, purchased or eaten unless it can be confirmed that it's not from the Yuma region, said Kirk Smith, manager of the health department's foodborne, waterborne, vector borne and zoonotic diseases section.

For the record, the demographic group most impacted by the outbreak is women. "We're trying to figure out where all of those are coming from and ideally, we'd like to get those mapped out and find convergence someplace to identify some specific cause and we're not there yet. If you do not know if the lettuce in a salad mix is romaine, do not eat it".

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Though a farm in Yuma, Arizona, was identified as the general source of whole-head romaine that sickened eight inmates in Alaska, health officials are not certain whether the contamination occurred in the field or along the packaging and distribution chain, according to the FDA.

On Saturday, April 21, the company wanted to remain transparent with their customers, so they alerted them through social media and through an e-newsletter with information about the outbreak and the restaurant's position.

The contaminated romaine distributed by Harrison was harvested between March 5 and March 16.

Symptoms of E. coli begin on average three to four days after the bacteria are consumed. In Pennsylvania, 20 people are sick. In the CDCs most recent figures, which were released last week, the outbreak has resulted in 121 E. coli cases and 52 hospitalizations nationwide.

Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli - the kind involved in this outbreak - is so potent that the Department of Homeland Security even lists it as a potential agent of biological warfare.

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