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Minnesota illness linked to E. coli, romaine lettuce outbreak

ST. PAUL — A Minnesota resident is hospitalized and by Friday afternoon, state health officials were warning consumers not to eat romaine lettuce from the Salinas region of California because it has been linked to serious illnesses from E. coli bacteria.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Nov. 22 said it is working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and public health agencies in other states to investigate an outbreak of E. coli O157 infections associated with eating romaine lettuce.

The hospitalized Minnesotan developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and that case has been linked to a multi-state outbreak with up to 40 cases across 16 states. Most cases involve females and is affecting people from 3 to 89 years old, the health department said. The onset dates range from Sept. 4 through Nov. 10, though additional cases are being investigated.

Twenty-eight of the 40 cases involved hospitalization with five developing HUS, a potentially fatal complication that can include kidney failure and other severe problems.

Most romaine products are labeled with harvest location. If you find any from the Salinas region, do not buy or eat and toss any romaine that may be from that region, the health department said.

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