Nearly 1/3 of People Sickened in Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce Live in L.A. County


The national E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce announced on Thanksgiving week has sickened dozens of people, with L.A. County reporting the most patients.

According to county health officials, nine of the 32 people infected across 11 states between Oct. 8 and Oct. 31 were L.A. County residents. The Orange County Health Care Agency reported one case.

A total of 10 people who fell ill in the outbreak lived in California, officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 13 people were hospitalized, including one who developed kidney failure. There have been no deaths reported.

The CDC on Monday urged Americans to stay away from any romaine lettuce and retailers and restaurants to stop selling them. Those who have the greens in their home should toss them and sanitize refrigerator drawers or shelves where they were kept.

“This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad,” the agency said.

Officials said individuals infected with E. Coli typically get sick with bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps three to four days after eating any contaminated food. And while most recover within a week, others can stay sick longer and suffer from kidney failure.

The CDC said it has not traced the source of the outbreak, but the L.A. County Department of Public Health said it was working closely with federal health officials in their investigation.

Earlier this year, an E. coli outbreak linked to lettuce from Yuma, Arizona sickened some 200 people and killed five between March and June. Experts believed contaminated irrigation water led to that outbreak, which involved a particularly virulent strain of E. coli.