Number of people hospitalized from multi-state E. Coli outbreak continues to grow

A local restaurant owner said when it comes to food, no warning should be overlooked.The number of people hospitalized from the multi-state E. Coli outbreak continues to grow.

Posted: Apr. 25, 2018 6:43 PM
Updated: Apr. 25, 2018 6:50 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A local restaurant owner said when it comes to food, no warning should be overlooked.The number of people hospitalized from the multi-state E. Coli outbreak continues to grow.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 more people have been added to the investigation, bringing the total to 84 people. 

The CDC now believes the contaminated lettuce is from Yuma, Arizona. However, they have yet to determine where exactly it was produced or how many places it was shipped.

Owner of Professor Joe's in Lafayette, Joe Wenig said he threw out all of his lettuce as soon as he heard about the outbreak.

"We went ahead and just pulled all of our romaine, disposed of it, we served salad through the weekend but they were made with spinach," said Wenig. 

Although there have not been any confirmed cases of E. Coli in Indiana, Wenig wasn't taking any chances.

"Food comes from all over the country, all over the world so our suppliers are everywhere," said Wenig. 

He has since confirmed from his suppliers, that his lettuce did not come from Yuma and is in fact safe to eat.

IU Health Arnett Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Rebecca Finder thinks he made the right decision in throwing out the lettuce until he knew for sure.

"The CDC has said that any of this romaine lettuce that has been produced since November of last year is the potential for it to be contaminated so they don't know how long this could last," said Finder. 

That means it is likely more cases of E. Coli will pop up and Wenig is checking and double checking.

"I can say yes I'm aware of the recall we've pulled our romaine or yes I'm aware of the recall and our romaine does not come from that supplier," said Wenig. 

The CDC is warning people to not consume romaine lettuce unless they can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

He hopes his customers keep checking too.

"So if your restaurant doesn't answer the questions in a way that eases your concerns, I wouldn't eat there," said Wenig. 

This is still an active warning, and health officials say people need to be aware of the symptoms associated with E. Coli.

People can start to feel sick any time between two to eight days after consumption. Symptoms are similar to a stomach bug. 

According to the CDC, no deaths have been reported.

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