Alaska is now facing the problem of determining the source of contaminated E. coli lettuce. Eight people ate it and got sick in Nome, Alaska and authorities did find out that the culprit was the lettuce but they still do not know where this contamination started.
Since the source has yet to be found, the FDA decided to issue a public warming to the citizens, outright stating that anyone who has romaine lettuce coming from Yuma, Arizona should throw it out immediately. Why Yuma? Because most of the romaine lettuce that grows out of season, during winter, comes from Yuma.
The strain of E. coli
It looks like the particular strain of E. coli that was found on these lettuces could wreak havoc on the human body if it enters the bloodstream, damaging the kidneys. If one is infected with this strain they could experience painful cramps, diarrhea and even vomiting.
The investigation process
Outbreak investigation usually take longer to be completed sine investigators need to look at a number of distributors in order to find out where the contamination is coming from. E. coli usually happens when the produce gets into contact with animal feces at some point. The Nome case could be the breakthrough in this case since the people that got infected all came from the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center and that institution bought their lettuce from one single supplier.
The supplier said that it got its lettuce from a packer in California that got it from a farm in Yuma. So far the exact farm has not been discovered. Investigators are working on finding out whether or not the contaminated romaine lettuce has been distributed to other parts of the United States and to pinpoint the exact location of the farm in cause in order to be sure that no other people will be contaminated.