TUESDAY, Nov. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with health officials from various states are asking American consumers to avoid romaine lettuce due to an outbreak of Escherichia coli illness.

“At this time, the FDA recommends that consumers do not eat romaine lettuce and discard any product until we know more,” the two agencies said in an FDA news release issued today. “Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should not serve romaine lettuce until more is known about this outbreak.”

So far, 32 people across 11 states have become sick with E. coli after eating romaine lettuce, the FDA said. Thirteen of those cases were severe enough to require hospitalization and one patient developed kidney failure, although no deaths have so far been reported. The latest case of reported illness onset occurred Oct. 31. States affected by the outbreak include California (10 cases), Connecticut (one case), Illinois (two cases), Massachusetts (two cases), Maryland (one case), Michigan (seven cases), New Hampshire (two cases), New Jersey (three cases), New York (two cases), Ohio (one case), and Wisconsin (one case).

The strain of E. coli O157:H7 that is causing illness in the current outbreak “is different than the one identified in the large outbreak in Spring 2018 linked to romaine from the Yuma growing region,” the FDA said. However, “it does appear to be similar to the strain that caused a smaller outbreak linked to leafy greens that occurred in the fall of 2017 in both the United States and Canada.”

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