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10 Minnesota illnesses linked to national E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce

Forum News Service file photo

ST. PAUL—Minnesota state health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli related to romaine lettuce from the Yuma region.

The Minnesota Department of Health is working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and public health agencies in other states to investigate an outbreak.

Information on the national outbreak can be found on CDC's and FDA's websites.

Ten cases of E. coli O157 infection in Minnesota residents have recently been identified and linked to the multi-state outbreak. Illness onset dates range from April 20 through May 2. The cases are from both metro and greater Minnesota counties; 90 percent are female. Three cases were hospitalized, and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal complication that can include kidney failure and other severe problems.

All of the Minnesota cases interviewed by public health investigators reported exposure to romaine lettuce. Reported exposure locations include restaurants, grocery stores, and residential facilities. The state health department is working with the state's ag department to further investigate these exposures.

"Do not eat, buy, or sell romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region," said Kirk Smith, manager of the Foodborne, Waterborne, Vectorborne, and Zoonotic Diseases section. "The Yuma growing region includes part of western Arizona and extends into the Imperial Valley of southeastern California, but does not include Salinas Valley or other growing regions in California."

Product from the Yuma growing region should no longer be on sale; however, individuals should check their refrigerators for romaine lettuce that may have been grown in the Yuma region.

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