Confirmed Cases of E-Coli in Montana Linked to Romaine Lettuce
The Missoula City County Health Department confirmed on Wednesday that there are six confirmed cases of E-Coli contamination that are linked to a multi-state outbreak associated with romaine lettuce from the Yuma Arizona area.
Environmental Health Specialist Alisha Johnson said two of the six cases have occurred in western Montana.
“We do have six confirmed cases in the State of Montana, two of which are Missoula County residents,” Johnson began. “We’re following the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control) recommendation and take precaution. Precut romaine lettuce, those prepackaged salad mixes if they have precut romaine in them, don’t consume them. If you have any in your refrigerator, toss them out, even if you’ve already started consuming them and you don’t have symptoms.”
Johnson described the effects that e-coli bacteria can have on the human body.
“It’s a particularly dangerous type of bacteria in that one to two days after you’ve eaten something that’s contaminated with it you can get severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and it can lead to some very severe complications especially in the elderly and the very young.”
Johnson said there have been no deaths reported yet, but that residents should look for any chopped romaine lettuce in their refrigerator and simply throw it out.
Nationwide, there are more than 50 cases across 16 states with at least 29 hospitalizations. The investigation on the state and national levels is ongoing and the number of cases is expected to increase. There is an additional suspected case in Western Montana awaiting confirmation at the state laboratory. Results are expected by the end of the week.