Lynne Terry of The Oregonian reported this afternoon that Oregon health authorities have announced a suspected link between 124 Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses nationally and lettuce.  The illnesses began appearing in mid-July and trailed off about a month later.  Seven Oregon residents fell ill between Aug. 4 to 16, including three in the Portland metro area.

One of the Oregon residents who became ill suffered a particularly severe illness and was hospitalized for several weeks.  Doctors removed a portion of her gastrointestinal tract, which had become necrotic and non-functional as a result of her severe infection with Salmonella Typhimurium.  We represent this unfortunate woman, and are working hard to discover for her what the ultimate source of her illness was.

This would certainly not be the first time that contaminated lettuce or other leafy greens caused an outbreak of severe illnesses.  In addition to the infamous Dole spinach E. coli outbreak in 2006, here are a few others:

November-December 2006 – Taco Bell and Taco Johns E. coli shredded lettuce sickened hundreds in Mid-west and East

June 2005 – 30 sickened in three states by E. coli-tainted Dole Lettuce

October 2003 – thirteen residents of a California retirement home were sickened, and two people died, after eating E. coli-contaminated, pre-washed spinach

September 2003 – nearly forty patrons of a California restaurant chain fell ill after eating salads prepared with bagged, pre-washed lettuce

July 2002 – over fifty young women fell ill with E. coli O157:H7 at a dance camp after eating “pre-washed” lettuce, leaving several hospitalized and one with life-long kidney damage

August 1993 – E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to a salad bar; 53 reported cases in Washington State

July 1995 – Lettuce (leafy green; red; romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 70 reported cases in Montana

September 1995 – Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 20 reported cases in Idaho

September 1995 – Lettuce (iceberg) E. coli O157:H7; 30 reported cases in Maine

October 1995 – Lettuce (iceberg; unconfirmed) E. coli O157:H7; 11 reported cases in Ohio

May-June 1996 – Lettuce (mesclun; red leaf) E. coli O157:H7; 61 reported cases in Connecticut, Illinois, and New York

May 1998 – Salad E. coli O157:H7; two reported cases in California

February.-March 1999 – Lettuce (iceberg) E. coli O157:H7; 72 reported cases in Nebraska

July-August 2002 – Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 29 reported cases in Washington and Idaho

October 2003-May 2004 – Lettuce (mixed salad) E. coli O157:H7; 57 reported cases in California

April 2004 – Spinach E. coli O157:H7; 16 reported cases in California

September 2005 – Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 32 reported cases in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oregon