Texas is now tied to the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

About 135 cases of E. coli are reported in Minnesota each year, according to the MDH.

A major outbreak in the USA of E. coli linked to Arizona-grown Romaine lettuce is now affecting 29 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Last week the FDA confirmed that the harvesting season was over for romaine in Yuma, and that any lettuce picked then has now expired. If you have romaine lettuce in your refrigerator you're advised to throw it away.

The CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and states are continuing to investigate the outbreak, which began March 13.

The latest data from the CDC shows new cases have been reported Florida, Texas, North Dakota and Minnesota.

The number of people infected by the romaine lettuce could still increase, due to cases after April 17.

The CDC has tallied 149 cases in 29 states stemming from the romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region, including one death in California and 64 hospitalizations.

The CDC warns consumers not to buy romaine unless they can verify the region of production.

Restaurants and retailers are being told to not serve or sell romaine lettuce coming from the Yuma, Arizona region.

This strain of E. coli produces a toxin that causes vomiting and diarrhea and potentially other severe symptoms, including in some cases kidney failure.

Besides the death recorded in California, 17 patients have developed a unsafe form of kidney failure, the agency said.

Last week, the agency reported that the outbreak had claimed its first life, killing one person in California. People typically become ill two to five days after exposure, but this period can range from one to eight days. However, children younger than 10, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing complications. The products may include baby and organic romaine, salad mixes, whole head, chopped lettuce and hearts of romaine.

"Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli O157 infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli O157 infection is ruled out", the CDC said. People also should avoid salad mixes that include romaine.

  • Rogelio Becker