The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning about an E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce to cover all forms of romaine, including whole heads and hearts of romaine grown in the Yuma, Arizona, growing area. A previous warning was limited to chopped forms of romaine, including salads and salad mixes.
The CDC based the new warning on eight new cases of acute gastroenteritis at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska, that appear to be connected to the current outbreak affecting 53 people in 16 states.
One person in Washington and 10 others in Idaho have fallen ill. The CDC said thirty-one have been hospitalized. Although no one has died, five people have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
While the current cases are connected to the Yuma, Arizona, area, the CDC warns that package labels often do not identify growing regions. Consumers should throw out any romaine lettuce in their homes, even if partially eaten, and avoid eating romaine at restaurants unless the establishment can confirm that the lettuce is not from Yuma.
No common grower, supplier, distributor or brand from the Yuma area has been identified.