Maryland’s health department is investigating a cluster of E. coli after seven people who fell ill from the bacteria reported eating the same prepackaged salad.
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The health department said in a statement Monday that those who contracted the bacteria all said they ate the same Caesar salad purchased at Sam’s Clubs throughout the state. One person has been hospitalized with the illness.
The department confirmed tests of one of the salads identified E. coli in the romaine lettuce. The statement advised others not to eat any Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Chicken Caesar Salads, lot #255406963, with an Oct. 31 expiration date. The salad is also sold at many other retailers, according to the health department.
Health officials say E. coli causes severe stomach cramps, fevers, diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting.
Most people with an E. coli infection start feeling sick three to four days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. However, illnesses can start anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure.
Most people recover within five to seven days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening. E. coli infections can lead to serious complications, like hemolytic uremic syndrome, which may be fatal.
Consumers are advised to seek medical advice if they have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, blood in the stool or ongoing vomiting.