Monday, 25 June, 2018

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce killed 5, sickened 197

Four more deaths from eating tainted lettuce reported Lettuce now on shelves is probably safe but there is a lag in reporting illness and death from tainted produce
Johnnie Parks | 03 June, 2018, 00:06

Four more people have died from tainted romaine lettuce, federal health officials said Friday, bringing the total to five deaths related to a virulent strain of E. coli whose source has still not been located.

In an update Friday, health officials said 25 more cases raised the total to 197 illnesses in 35 states.

Since mid-May, "four more deaths were reported, bringing the total to five deaths from Arkansas (1), California (1), Minnesota (2), and NY (1)", the CDC said in a statement. On Friday, health officials said they had learned of four more - one in Arkansas, one in NY, and two in Minnesota. In a June 1 advisory, the agency said that four additional deaths were reported in Arkansas, North Carolina and NY in addition to the original death in California. Three more states have reported ill people - Arkansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak, the largest in a decade, to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona. The last harvest was collected on April 16, and because the lettuce only has a 21-day shelf life, it is highly unlikely that any lettuce covered by the advisory is still available.

The first illnesses occurred in March, and the most recent began on May 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Romaine lettuce grows near Soledad, California, U.S., May 3, 2017.

Symptoms can include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps.

The CDC also noted that some people who became sick had not eaten romaine lettuce, but had close contact with someone else who get sick from eating it.

Officials urge anyone who thinks they may be ill with an E. coli infection to see their doctor. Of 187 people with information available, 89 (48 percent) have been hospitalized, including 26 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

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