The New Jersey Department of Health has been working with The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), several other states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, in the investigation of a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018 to April 6, 2018 with an age range of 10yrs. to 85 years, with a median age of 34 yrs. Seventy percent of ill people are female. Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized, including five people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. Forty-one (95%) of 43 people interviewed reported consuming romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. At this time, ill people are not reporting having eaten whole heads or hearts of romaine.
NJ has 7 cases associated with this outbreak with Illnesses onset dates ranging from March 15, 2018 to March 26, 2018, with an age range of 18yrs. to 84 years and a median age of 46 yrs. Eighty-five percent of ill people are female and six have been hospitalized, including one who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. All six who were hospitalized have been discharged. All cases were interviewed and available exposures have been shared with CDC. The CDC web posting can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-04-18/index.html
At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified. However, information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region may have been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could be the source of the outbreak. The FDA recommends that consumers ask restaurants and other food service establishments where their romaine lettuce originated, and retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators have been advised to not sell or serve any chopped romaine lettuce from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. Consumers are also advised to discard any chopped romaine lettuce that they may have in their homes.