Health Officials Warn 'Throw Romaine Lettuce Away'

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that consumers should avoid all types of romaine lettuce from southwest Arizona because of the outbreak. But consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought romaine at home, including in salads and salad mixes, should throw it away immediately if they don't know its specific source, officials said - even if some had already been eaten with no ill effects, reported the Washington Post.

Yuma County is responsible for 90 percent of all leafy vegetables grown in the USA, from November to March, according to the county's Chamber of Commerce .

Contaminated chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, is likely to blame for the E. Coli outbreak that has infected 53 people across 16 states, including 31 hospitalizations, according to the CDC. The CDC said five victims have developed kidney failure, though no deaths have been reported. The CDC advises everybody to avoid buying or eating romaine lettuce from a grocery store or restaurant unless the romaine is known to not be from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

Alaska's Department of Health & Social Services said eight inmates at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center contracted acute gastroenteritis in E. coli cases linked to romaine lettuce from Yuma. An earlier warning did not include whole heads or hearts; the latest warning covers everything.

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"Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten", the CDC said.

Authorities pointed out, folks here at an Alaska reformatory fairly recently revealed feeling sick, soon after consuming romaine lettuce, which was traced back to lettuce heads acquired from Yuma, that is approximately 185 miles south west from Phoenix AZ.

Growers in Yuma typically plant romaine lettuce between September and January. A STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli ) infection and hemolytic uremic syndrome can both be deadly.

Fred Pritzker and Brendan Flaherty help people who have been sickened with E. coli O157:H7 infections and HUS.