E. coli outbreak? In lettuce?

Back to Article
Back to Article

E. coli outbreak? In lettuce?

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Romaine lettuce crops in certain counties located in California are currently infected by a bacteria called Escherichia coli, or short for E Coli. E. coli is a type of bacteria typically found in the gut of animals. While most E. coli is harmless, some E. coli strains can cause anything from diarrhea to urinary tract infections. The infected counties include Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Ventura according to CNN.      

According to WebMD, 75 to 95 percent of urinary tract infections are in fact caused by E. coli. E. coli is also included on Longitude Prizes’ top 10 most dangerous bacteria. In America, only 5 people have passed away from e. coli, with 197 cases reported, so out of 330 million people it is pretty rare.

So, you might be wondering about ways you can prevent e. coli, and to be honest, there is not a way to get rid of it completely. Washing it won’t exactly help, so your best bet is to just avoid lettuce until the outbreak ends.

There is one story about someone named Stephanie that has had an experience with E. coli poisoning. Even though she did not get it through lettuce, the story is similar to how it would be if you got infected by E. coli through lettuce. What happened was she bought some burger patties, barbecued them up, ate one, and then developed a fever, diarrhea, and chills a few days later. She did not think much of it until the day after that when Stephanie had developed bloody diarrhea. This is when she decided to go to an emergency room.

Over the days, her health was becoming worse and worse, and eventually, when a doctor was drawing her blood, he noticed that her limbs were shaking and she could not speak in complete sentences. The doctors would later discover that she had experienced liver failure meaning Stephanie had hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is an illness that only 10% of E. coli patients develop. She had to get dialysis and plasma exchange. Over the days, she became worse and worse. Eventually, after a lot of treatment, she almost recovered, but when the E. coli was gone it took the mobility from the waist down with it. She continued physical therapy.

          After a few interviews, only 50% of people knew about the outbreak, while 0% of the people interviewed know someone who has suffered from E. coli. E. coli does not sound fun to anyone. It is very rare, but there is always a possibility. If you do not want to catch it, then your best bet is to just not eat lettuce until the outbreak ends. If you happen to have any of the symptoms, you need to get medical help as soon as possible.