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Escherichia coli

E. coli are bacteria with many different subtypes, some of which can cause disease in people. E. coli can cause a variety of different infections, including gastrointestinal illness and urinary tract infections, among others. In Alaska, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) is tracked by public health. STEC can be spread by eating contaminated foods or drinks, or by having contact with a sick person, animal, or contaminated surface. STEC can cause diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and sometimes a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Most people recover in 5-7 days.

On November 20, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to consumption of romaine lettuce. There have not been any cases identified in Alaska. On November 26, officials reported that implicated romaine appears to have been harvested in the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California; romaine labeled as coming from these areas should still be avoided. However, romaine harvested from other areas can be consumed. If you are unsure where the romaine came from, do not eat it.


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