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Montana illnesses linked to lettuce


April 19, 2018

State and local public health agencies are investigating several reports of E. coli O157 illnesses likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. Three cases in Montana are confirmed to be linked by laboratory testing to a multi-state outbreak and four more are suspected and further testing is pending.

Confirmed and suspected cases have been identified in Missoula, Flathead, Lincoln and Ravalli counties. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an additional 35 cases, including 22 hospitalizations, in 11 states.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 infection vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Most people get better within 5 to 7 days.

Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

Advice to Consumers:

Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away. If you do not know if the chopped lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

If you cannot confirm the source of the lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.


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