A recent E-coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from Yuma appears to have been caused by infected water canals in the area, states public officials.
According to the WSB-TV, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated Thursday that the current outbreak is the largest E. coli outbreak in over a decade.
Since the initial announcement of the multistate outbreak on April 10, the bacteria infected 210 people across 36 states. The outbreak caused five deaths and 96 hospitalizations, including 27 people who developed a type of kidney failure.
Both federal and state officials had originally traced the outbreak to farms in the Yuma, Arizona region. On Thursday it was announced that they had taken samples from the water, soil and manure in the area. The report read that “CDC laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in water samples taken from a canal in the Yuma growing region.”
A food-safety expert, Bill Marler, says he expects the finding will cause long-term challenges for Yuma.
Given this strain of E. coli is nearly always linked to cattle, Marler states he assumes there are feedlots or cattle farms upstream that caused the canal to become infected.
The CDC and the FDA are continuing to test other environmental samples to learn more about how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the water and ways this water could have contaminated romaine lettuce in the region.
Here are a few helpful tips to avoid E-coli infections:
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