One King County resident has been diagnosed with an E. coli infection genetically linked to the national outbreak connected to romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the outbreak linked to romaine lettuce on November 22, 2019. Public Health believes that this person became ill from eating leafy greens purchased in King County. He was hospitalized but is now recovering. Public Health is also investigating additional E. coli cases among King County residents that may eventually be linked to the national outbreak, but complete information on these cases is pending.
“We encourage people to follow the CDC guidance and avoid buying or eating romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing area to protect yourself and your family,” said Dr. Meagan Kay, DVM, Medical Epidemiologist for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “If you have romaine lettuce at home and you don’t know where it was grown, don’t take chances. Don’t eat it and throw it away.”
The CDC has issued the following advice:
- Avoid all romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region, including whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.
- Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Salinas, California growing region.
- Product labels often do not identify growing regions, so don’t eat or buy it if you don’t know where it was grown. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it.
- Restaurants and retailers should check the label on bags or boxes of romaine lettuce, or ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce.
Symptoms of E. coli
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection: diarrhea that can be bloody, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. In addition, inform your provider about any consumption of leafy greens in the ten days before you became ill. Anyone who is ill with suspected E. coli should not work in food handling, patient care, or child care settings. Ill children with suspected E. coli should not attend daycare until they have seen a healthcare provider and been tested for E. coli infection even if their illness is mild.