Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Likely Linked to Romaine Lettuce

(Salt Lake City) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising U.S. consumers not to eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants should not serve or sell any, until further notice. Thirty-two (32) people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 11 states.


There are currently no confirmed cases in Utah associated with this outbreak. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Utah Department of Health, and other agencies are monitoring the situation. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.


Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2018 to October 31, 2018. Thirteen people were hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.


The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified 18 ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in two Canadian provinces: Ontario and Quebec.

According to the CDC, consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some was eaten and no one became ill.  This alert includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce, and salad mixes containing romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away. Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored.


The CDC also advises people to contact their health care provider if they have symptoms of an E. coli infection, which can include:

  • Diarrhea, often bloody
  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Vomiting


Below is an additional note from CDC about Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome:

“About 5 to 10% of people who are diagnosed with STEC infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS develops about 7 days after symptoms first appear, when diarrhea is improving. Clues that someone is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. People with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.”


CDC alert page where much of this information originated: