wa dept of health

TUMWATER - Officials at the state Department of Health advise the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, Calif., growing region.

Two Washington cases are now included in the multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli linked to romaine lettuce from that area. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration are investigating.

“E. coli infections can cause serious complications and we want the public to be aware of the ongoing risk,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable disease.

The latest advisory includes all types of romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, Calif., growing region, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine and packages of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine. Most romaine lettuce products are labeled with the harvest location.

E. coli are bacteria that normally live in the intestines of humans and animals. Although most strains are harmless, some can cause illness by making a toxin called Shiga toxin.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps and blood in the stool. There usually is no fever.

People with such symptoms are advised to contact a health provider, said the department.

More details on the outbreak are available on the CDC website. Food safety tips are on the health department website.

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