NPS Commercial Services

Office of Public Health Issues Warning of E.coli Outbreak

The National Park Service (NPS) Office of Public Health has issued a warning regarding a multi-state outbreak of E.coli 0157:H7 linked to chopped Romaine lettuce from winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona.

Background

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 illnesses likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce sourced from winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona.
  • As of April 18, 2018, 53 people from 16 states have been infected with this outbreak strain. Of these people, 31 have been hospitalized, including five people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported to date.
  • Almost all of the 43 people interviewed (95%) reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. Restaurants where the lettuce was eaten reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.
  • No specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time; therefore, no specific product recall has been initiated.

Recommendations

  • The FDA and CDC recommend that consumers avoid chopped romaine lettuce that originated from Yuma, Arizona, as well as romaine lettuce for which the source is not known.
  • The FDA and CDC also recommend that retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should not sell or serve any chopped romaine lettuce from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona or if the source of the chopped romaine lettuce cannot be determined.
  • As is always the case, restaurants should be vigilant about steps to adequately control the temperature of cut leafy greens and avoid cross contamination.
  • The NPS Office of Public Health recommends foodservice operations in the National Parks follow the above CDC and FDA recommendations.
  • If food service operators/operations learn of any consumers with symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli infections (including severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes fever), they should instruct consumers to contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. Although many infections resolve in 5-7 days, they can result in serious illness.

Additional Information

Contact Information

Additional questions can be directed to Dr. Maria Said, National Park Service Epidemiology Branch Chief at 202-513-7151.