The nasty strain of E. coli that’s sickening people across the U.S. has turned up in Idaho and Montana, and health officials remain on alert.
Britney Behm, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control, said Monday reports of E. coli cases linked to romaine lettuce continue to come in. An initial warning about chopped lettuce has now expanded to any romaine — chopped, in mixes, hearts or heads — from Yuma, Arizona.
“Avoid eating it unless you can confirm with that store or that restaurant that they got their romaine from a different source than Yuma,” said Behm. “If in doubt, go ahead and throw it out.”
By Friday, 53 cases had been reported nationwide, including six cases in Montana, and 10 in Idaho.
“And, if you don’t know where it came from, throw it away because it’s really not worth it to take the chance that you could become infected with this strain of E. coli,” said Niki Forbing-Orr, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
“If you’ve eaten any romaine lettuce and you have diarrhea or severe abdominal cramps, you should seek medical attention,” Forbing-Orr said.
That’s because this strain of E. coli has put more than half of the people infected with it in the hospital.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.