The Final Update on the Multistate Outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 Infections

Key points:

As of January 15, 2020, this outbreak appears to be over.

CDC has lifted its advice that people avoid romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley growing region in California. Contaminated romaine lettuce that made people sick in this outbreak is no longer available for sale.

A total of 167 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 27 states.

Eighty-five people were hospitalized including 15 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported.

Laboratory testing confirmed that this strain of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli 0157:H7 tends to cause more severe illness than other strains.

This outbreak was caused by the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 that caused outbreaks linked to leafy greens in 2017 and to romaine lettuce in 2018.

FDA continues to investigate the source of contamination. For more information about their investigation, visit https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/outbreak-investigation-e-coli-romaine-november-2019external icon.

About Shiga toxin-producing E. coli:

People get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli an average of 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.

Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.

Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out.

More information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/ecoli-prevention.html.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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