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Health agencies investigating E. coli cases in Montana

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MISSOULA -

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) says state and local health agencies are investigation several reports of E. coli illness likely linked to romaine lettuce. 

According to a press release DPHHS the lettuce is believed to be sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona.  

DPHHS says the three confirmed cases in Montana are linked to a multi-state outbreak. Four additional cases are suspected to be linked, pending further testing. 

The confirmed and suspected cases have been identified in Missoula, Flathead, Lincoln and Ravalli counties and include three hospitalizations. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an additional 35 cases, including 22 hospitalizations, in 11 states have been identified. 

DPHHS says symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. And some people may experience low fever. Most people get better withing 5 to 7 days. Most people with E. coli start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria.

From DPHHS:

Advice to Consumers:

  • Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the chopped lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

  • Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the chopped romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.

Advice to Restaurants and Retailers:

  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

  • Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.

In addition to working with providers to investigate possible illness, public health authorities are asking restaurants and retailers to determine the source of any romaine lettuce and not serve or sell it.  The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will update information online. For more information and updates visit the DPHHS website at http://dphhs.mt.gov/.

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