For people with compromised immune systems, salmonella and e-coli can be fatal, which makes today’s news especially alarming.
“Romaine lettuce contains a particularly dangerous type of E. coli,” warned the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. “It has been deemed unsafe to eat in any form” after a nationwide outbreak of illnesses was linked to it.
Thirty-two people, as of November 20th, have been infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 11 states.
People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after swallowing the germ. Some people with a STEC infection may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli infections might increase their risk of developing HUS, and a benefit of treatment has not been clearly demonstrated.
Earlier this week, Jennie-O Turkey recalled more than 91,000 pounds of raw turkey in an ongoing salmonella outbreak. The recall is the first tied to an outbreak the U.S. Department of Agriculture says is widespread and likely affects a number of different producers in the industry. So far this year, the outbreak has resulted in one death and 164 reported illnesses in 35 states. About half of those sickened had to be hospitalized.
Salmonella has also been detected in raw turkey pet food and live turkeys, an indication the bacteria is widespread in the turkey industry.