An E. coli O157: H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, CA has sickened 40 people including one person in Minnesota with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) who remains hospitalized. HUS, a form of kidney failure that affects about around 7 percent of people with E. coli infections, often affects young people and children.
Five of the 40 patients included in this outbreak have developed HUS including one of our Wisconsin clients, a 14-year-old girl currently hospitalized. Uremia is the buildup of toxins normally flushed out of the system. With HUS, the buildup occurs because small blood vessels in the kidneys have become damaged or inflamed, this can lead to clotting in the vessels which clogs the filtering system of the kidneys. Treatment of this life-threatening condition includes dialysis, blood transfusions and plasma therapy to remove these toxins from the body.
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Last night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) issued public health alerts warning consumers to avoid all romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, CA including any wraps, sandwiches, prepackaged salad, salad kits, or other product containing romaine lettuce harvested from that area.
Minnesota is one of 16 states reporting illnesses in this outbreak. The case counts from each state are as follows: AZ (2), CA (4), CO (1), ID (3), IL (1), MD (3), MI (1), MN (1), MT (1), NJ (1), NM (2), OH (5), PA (3), VA (1), WA (1), WI (10).
About two-thirds of the patients, who range in age from 3 to 89 years old, are female. The “onset of illness” dates reported so far range from September 24, 2019 through November 10, 2019 but the Minnesota Department of Health says additional cases are under investigation. Seventy percent of patients sickened in this outbreak, 28 of 40 patients, have been hospitalized. That’s more than twice the normal hospitalization rate of about 30 percent.
Like other patients sickened in this outbreak, the Minnesota patient told public health investigators that he or she ate romaine lettuce before symptoms of an E. coli infection, which include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that is often bloody, set in. Anyone with these symptoms should contact their health care provider.
The E. coli lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have represented clients in nearly every major U.S. E. coli outbreak in the last 20 years recovering millions for our clients including what is believed to be the large E. coli verdict in U.S. history – $7.5 million for a family whose daughter developed HUS. For a free consultation, call us at 1-888-377-8900, text us at 612-261-0856 or, fill out the form below.