E-Coli outbreak causes concern for doctors, restaurant owners
FLINT, Mich.-- People across the country are throwing away romaine lettuce.
The reason: E-coli.
The Centers for Disease Control is expanding its warning about an outbreak to include all kinds of romaine, not just chopped.
The number of E-coli cases jumped to 53 across 16 states.
That's up from 35.
The CDC reports two people in Michigan have been infected.
Now doctors at Hurley Medical Center say if you don't know where your lettuce comes from get rid of it.
Hurley Medical Center Doctor Jim Weber calls most forms of E-coli relatively harmless. But he says this one can come with significant concerns.
“This particular strain secretes a toxin which can be very deadly. The symptoms to look for are fever, chills, vomiting, usually bloody diarrhea and in extreme cases it can cause kidney failure which is our big fear with it,” he said.
The new CDC warning now covers all kinds of romaine lettuce. Originally the federal agency limited it to just chopped romaine. But now they are including whole heads and hearts.
“The source of the outbreak is coming from Yuma, Arizona so if you can't validate the source as to where you purchased the romaine lettuce from the best thing to do is just throw it out until the CDC gives the all clear,” Dr. Weber said.
Local restaurant owners like Paul Barrera in Saginaw are heeding the warning.
“Until the determination of where the product problem comes from they've suggested the accounts consider not mandated not recalled but consider pulling the product off our storage shelves and not use it,” he said.
He assures customers at Jake's Old City Grill that they're doing the right thing.
“Those that have concerns or those that feel they have a sensitivity they want to make sure they're safe just need to ask,” Paul said.
Doctor Weber encourages people to go to the doctor if they think they've been infected by E-coli.
Right now 31 people went to the hospital, and five developed a type of kidney failure.
So far no one has died.