Health Care

More People Have Died From the Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak

More People Have Died From the Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak

The Food and Drug Administration, which is investigating the outbreak with the CDC, has said it believes it can be traced to romaine lettuce sourced from the Yuma growing region in Arizona.

- Four more deaths have been linked to a national food poisoning outbreak blamed on tainted lettuce, bringing the total to five.

Two of the victims were from Minnesota, with the other three from Arkansas, California and NY.

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In early May, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed 10 cases of E. coli infection in Minnesota, with three requiring hospitalization. It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in people's homes, stores, or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life.

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

Officials said that first illness began sometime between March 13 and May 12. People who get sick from toxin-producing E. coli come down with symptoms about three to four days after swallowing the germ, with many suffering bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

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While most people recover within a week, some illnesses can last longer and be more severe, the CDC cautioned.

As of May 30 the investigation figures show 197 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 35 states.

Of the total 187 patients for whom information was available, 89 (or 48 per cent) were hospitalised, including 26 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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Officials also noted that some of the individuals who became ill never actually consumed the contaminated lettuce but were in close contact with someone else who had done so.