Romaine Lettuce E. coli Outbreak Hits 5 People in Georgia
GEORGIA- Northwestgeorgianew.com reports that 5 people in Georgia have confirmed cases of E. coli that are attributed to the massive outbreak that originated with Romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona. The total number of people affected thus far is 149, spread across 29 states. The outbreak killed one person in California.*
E. coli is a bacterium that causes severe illness in humans. When a person contracts E. coli, they experience a variety of symptoms such as bloody diarrhea. The bacteria can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to renal failure. There are different types of E. coli bacterium and they can cause different symptoms. Some E. coli infections can lead to urinary tract infections or even pneumonia.
Most people who become infected with E. coli get from eating contaminated food. The most common foods to cause this infection are ground beef, unpasteurized milk, and fresh produce. Produce, such as the lettuce at the center of the current outbreak, can become infected with E. coli because of runoff from cattle farms. Lettuce is one of the vegetables that is most likely to become contaminated with this bacterium.
Some people are more vulnerable to E. coli infections. Older adults and young children are more likely to become seriously ill if infected, as are people who have weakened immune systems. Additionally, people with low amounts of stomach acid have fewer protections against E. coli infections. This means that people who take medications that reduce their stomach acid levels, such as Prilosec or Nexium, are more likely to be sickened.
Because it often takes time for agencies like the Centers for Disease Control to get information about instances of infections, it is possible more people have become ill, but that not all of the cases have been reported yet.
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