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LaRosa's Pizzeria stops serving lettuce following CDC warning

Posted at 7:12 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 19:12:00-05

CINCINNATI -- LaRosa's Pizzeria announced Tuesday evening it would temporarily stop serving any lettuce in local restaurants "out of an abundance of caution" following a nationwide warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC urged United States consumers to throw away all romaine lettuce because it could be contaminated with E. coli. By Tuesday, when the warning was issued, 32 people across 11 states had been infected with the outbreak strain of the bacterium, and 13 had been hospitalized. 

One of those 13 had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially life-threatening form of kidney failure.

Because the source of the outbreak -- such as a specific farm or distributor -- had not been identified, the CDC wrote in a news release it considered all types and brands of lettuce suspect.

"While there's not been an outright ban on serving romaine lettuce, out of an abundance of caution, we have chosen to stop serving any lettuce in salads or on hoagys until further notice," La Rosa's representatives wrote in a news release. "When we know more about this fast-changing situation, we'll let you know."

Symptoms of E. coli infection, which usually begin about three or four days after consuming the bacteria, can include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC. Most people infected by the bacteria get better within five to seven days, though this particular strain of E. coli tends to cause more severe illness.

People of all ages are at risk of becoming infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, which is also investigating the outbreak. Children under 5, adults older than 65 and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with chronic diseases, are more likely to develop severe illness, but even healthy children and adults can become seriously ill.