Published: Sun, June 03, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

More deaths in the E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce

More deaths in the E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce

Some who became ill did not eat the lettuce but had close contact with those who did, the CDC report said.

Five people have died in a major E.coli outbreak in the U.S. involving romaine lettuce, with 197 cases reported across 35 states, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Deaths have been confirmed in Arkansas, California, Minnesota and NY with two of those deaths happening in Minnesota. Canadian health officials also recently identified E. coli cases in several provinces that could potentially be linked to the outbreak in the United States.

Officials say the people who became ill ate the tainted romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region when it was likely still available in grocery stores and restaurants. The new CDC report announces four more deaths - one in Arkansas, two in Minnesota and one in NY.

The first illnesses occurred in March, and the most recent began on May 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials said there are now 197 cases across 35 states.

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The reported strain of E. coli, which produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

As of June 1, 89 people have been hospitalized by the outbreak, but a recall has not been announced for romaine lettuce.

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

The disclosure of more deaths followed a federal announcement two weeks ago that the danger had passed. Young children and adults have a greater risk of developing a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is life-threatening.

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