Both the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that the Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with Romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ, growing region is now officially over, but the source of the outbreak has yet to be identified.
Recent testing found the same genetic fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 as the outbreak strain in samples of canal water from the Yuma region. While these tests confirm that the pathogen is present in the environment, it does not identify the initial source of contamination of the romaine lettuce. It is also unclear how the pathogen contaminated the canal water. Additional analyses are underway.
Both CDC and FDA are analyzing environmental samples from the soil and surfaces, and will share those findings when available.
An update of illnesses associated with this outbreak is as follows: 210 people were sickened in 36 states; 97 were hospitalized, including 27 who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome; and 5 people died.
Yuma-sourced romaine is no longer in the marketplace.
FDA’s latest update can be found here.
CDC’s latest update can be found here.