The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is saying that chopped Romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, likely caused the E. coli outbreak that sickened at least 35 people across 11 states as of April 12. According to news outlets, officials say the best thing to do right now is to avoid eating Romaine lettuce altogether unless you know for sure that it did not come from Yuma. This includes whole lettuce as well as pieces including those found in salad mixes and bagged salads. If you are not sure whether the lettuce is Romaine, toss it, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Toward the end of 2017 and earlier this year, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Consumer Reports issued an alert about Romaine lettuce and advised consumers against eating this lettuce when it seemed to be the source of a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli outbreak that affected 15 states in the U.S. and five provinces in Canada. Of the 17 reported cases between Nov. 15 and Dec. 8 of 2017, three were in California. In Canada, one person died and 17 were hospitalized as a result of this outbreak.
Ecoli Symptoms and Complications
The signs and symptoms of E. coli infection often begin three to four days after exposure to the bacteria although you could become ill as soon as one day after the exposure to more than a week later. Signs and symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness, and nausea and vomiting. Antibiotics are not helpful when it comes to treating Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections or STEC infections. In fact, antibiotics could increase the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that leads to kidney failure. About 5 to 10 percent of those who have STEC infections suffer HUS complications.
If You Have Been Affected
If you or a loved one has suffered from an E. coli infection or if you have suffered complications as a result of an E. coli infection caused by contaminated food, you may be able to bring a civil personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the food products. Manufacturers are required to exercise care and caution when they produce food. There are standards they must follow to ensure that the food is safe for consumption.
Affected consumers may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, and pain and suffering. An experienced California food poisoning lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.