The national E. coli outbreak involving romaine lettuce has officially been linked to an illness in Minnesota.
In a Friday news release, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said the person is now hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (a condition that can cause kidney failure), which is often caused by E. coli.
The patient hasn't been identified, and their location hasn't been specified, but MDH says they reported eating romaine lettuce.
So far, the outbreak has sickened 40 people in 16 states. Of those, 28 required hospitalization, 65 percent were female, and all range in age from 3 to 89 years, MDH notes.
That number could rise in Minnesota, with the agency saying it's investigating additional cases.
The outbreak started in late September, and has been traced back to romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas, California, area.
The Centers for Disease Control is advising consumers who have bought romaine lettuce to check the product label, as most will indicate where they were harvested.
If it's from Salinas — or if it isn't marked and you're unsure of the growing region — you're advised to throw it away.
Here's some information from the CDC regarding E. coli symptoms:
- People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 2 to 8 days (average of 3 to 4 days) after swallowing the germ.
- Some people with E. coli infections may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
- E. coli infection is usually diagnosed by testing a stool sample.
- Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli infections might increase their risk of developing HUS, and a benefit of treatment has not been clearly demonstrated.
.More information about symptoms can be found here.