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E. coli is seen in a petri dish in this Jan. 30, 1995, file photo. (1995 file / News Tribune)

5 Minnesotans sickened with E. coli in multistate outbreak

ST. PAUL — Five Minnesotans caught E. coli in a multistate outbreak that has been linked to a brand of pre-made salad kits, the state Department of Health has confirmed.

A total of nine people in three different states were infected with the disease, according to a Tuesday, Dec. 10, release. The cases are believed to be tied to Fresh Express's "Sunflower Crisp" chopped salad kits, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Four of the sickened Minnesotans are from the Twin Cities area, according to Health Department, while the other resides in Greater Minnesota. They took ill between Nov. 8 and Nov. 16, the department said and two were hospitalized.

They range in age from 21 to 91 years old, the department said.

State and national health officials have advised consumers who purchased the salad mixes to not eat them and throw them out instead. Restaurants and retailers are advised not to serve or sell the mixes, the department said.

The Health Department states that the spoiled kits are marked with a product code of 0-71279-30906-4 that begins with the letter Z, as well as a best-before date of up to and including Dec. 7.

According to the CDC, E. coli can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting and takes between five and seven days to recover. While some infections are mild, the agency says that others can become life-threatening or cause other illnesses.

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