Nearly three dozen people have been infected in an E. coli outbreak linked to chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., region, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.
The agency said that it had not yet identified a grower, supplier, distributor or brand common to the 35 cases of infection across 11 states, so it urged consumers to avoid any chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma area.
“If you cannot confirm the source of the lettuce, do not buy or eat it,” the C.D.C. said in a statement. The agency also recommended that restaurants and retailers not serve chopped romaine lettuce from the region.
The people infected so far range in age from 12 to 84 years old. Of the 22 people hospitalized in the outbreak, three had developed a type of kidney failure, according to the C.D.C. No deaths have been reported. Because of an average reporting delay of two to three weeks, illnesses that may have occurred after March 27 have not yet been counted.
The C.D.C. said that 26 of 28 infected individuals surveyed reported eating a salad at a restaurant, with romaine lettuce being the only common ingredient. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce.
The agency said it is still working to pinpoint the source of the outbreak.
The infections are somewhat spread out, geographically. Nine people were infected in Pennsylvania, more than any other state. Eight people were infected in Idaho and seven in New Jersey. Connecticut, New York and Ohio each had two people infected. Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia and Washington State each had one.
“Individuals with this infection usually get better within about five to seven days, however some illnesses can be serious or even life-threatening,” New Jersey’s health commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, said in a statement. “Anyone experiencing symptoms of this illness should see a healthcare provider.”
On average, it takes about three to four days for a person who consumes the E. coli germ to get sick. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, oftentimes bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. People exhibiting those symptoms should tell a doctor, the C.D.C. said.
The illnesses are unconnected to a similar E. coli outbreak that began late last year, resulting in one death and 25 infections, the C.D.C. said. American health officials linked that previous outbreak only to “leafy greens,” though their counterparts in Canada tied a concurrent series of E. coli infections there, which caused one death, to romaine lettuce.