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2 cases reported in Colorado related to romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

Romaine lettuce

ATLANTA — Colorado now has two cases linked to the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are currently 98 cases in 22 states linked to this outbreak. Forty-six people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The CDC says do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. The outbreak has been traced to that area, but the exact source hasn’t been pinpointed. Product labels often do not identify growing regions.

The advice from the CDC includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.

Signs and symptoms

The CDC says people usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after swallowing the germ.

  • Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea that can be bloody, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting
  • Most people recover within one week
  • Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening

Get more information about symptoms here.

Follow these general ways to prevent E. coli infection:

  • Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Cook steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and let rest for 3 minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove. Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
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