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A regional public media collaboration serving the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Romaine Lettuce Warnings Stand As Mountain West Sees 16 E. Coli Cases

The latest information from the Centers for Disease Control for the current E.coli infections nationwide. The map was current as of midday Monday.

The nasty strain of E. coli that’s sickening people across the U.S. has turned up in Idaho and Montana, and health officials remain on alert.

Britney Behm, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control, said Monday reports of E. coli cases linked to romaine lettuce continue to come in. An initial warning about chopped lettuce has now expanded to any romaine — chopped, in mixes, hearts or heads — from Yuma, Arizona.

“Avoid eating it unless you can confirm with that store or that restaurant that they got their romaine from a different source than Yuma,” said Behm. “If in doubt, go ahead and throw it out.”

By Friday, 53 cases had been reported nationwide, including six cases in Montana, and 10 in Idaho.

“And, if you don’t know where it came from, throw it away because it’s really not worth it to take the chance that you could become infected with this strain of E. coli,” said Niki Forbing-Orr, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

“If you’ve eaten any romaine lettuce and you have diarrhea or severe abdominal cramps, you should seek medical attention,” Forbing-Orr said.

That’s because this strain of E. coli has put more than half of the people infected with it in the hospital.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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