CDC investigation update of a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A CDC investigation update of a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections has been posted: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2019/o157h7-11-19/index.html.

What is new:

  • CDC continues to advise consumers and retailers not to eat, sell or serve lettuce grown in the Salinas, Calif., growing region.
  • Since the last update on November 22, an additional 27 ill people have been reported, bringing to the total to 67 cases in 19 states.
  • A total of 39 hospitalizations have been reported. Six people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
  • Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence collected to date indicate that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, Calif., growing region may be contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 and is making people sick.
  • This is a rapidly evolving investigation. CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.

Advice to consumers, retailers and restaurants:

  • Consumers should not eat and retailers and restaurants should not sell or serve any romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, Calif., growing region. This includes all use-by dates and brands of romaine lettuce from this region.
  • This advice includes all types of romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, such as whole heads of romaine; hearts of romaine; packages of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, Caesar salad, and organic romaine; and wraps or sandwiches that contain romaine.
  • If you have romaine lettuce or packaged foods containing romaine at your home, look for a label showing where the romaine was grown. If the label says “grown in Salinas” (whether alone or with the name of another location), don’t eat it. Throw it away.
  • If the label doesn’t identify the growing region or if you don’t know if the salad in a salad mix or wrap contains romaine, don’t eat it. Throw it away.
  • Restaurants and retailers should check the label on bags or boxes of romaine lettuce or ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce.
  • Suppliers, distributors, and others in the supply chain should not ship or sell romaine harvested in Salinas, California.

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.

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Page last reviewed: November 27, 2019