By EJ Mundell
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- It's safe again to buy and eat romaine lettuce grown on farms around Salinas, California, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
Back in November, the CDC first issued a warning on Nov. 22 that consumers should avoid all romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, Calif., due to possible contamination with E. coli bacteria.
But as of Wednesday, the outbreak of E. coli illnesses linked to the lettuce "appears to be over," the CDC said in a statement.
Overall, "a total of 167 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 27 states," the agency said. "Eighty-five people were hospitalized including 15 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported."
But the romaine that caused these illnesses is no longer thought to be available, so the agency "has lifted its advice that people avoid romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley growing region in California," the CDC said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration noted that the strain of E. coli identified in the recent outbreak is a familiar one.
"Genetic analysis of the E. coli O157:H7 strains from patients in this current outbreak are similar to strains of E. coli O157:H7 associated with a previous outbreak from the fall of 2017 and the fall of 2018 that affected consumers in both Canada and the United States," the agency said last November.
Symptoms of E. coli infection -- which develop a few days after swallowing the germ -- typically include diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. People who develop such symptoms should contact their doctor, the CDC said.
Most people do recover within a week, the agency said, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.