Five dead, nearly 200 sickened in romaine lettuce outbreak

Five dead, nearly 200 sickened in romaine lettuce outbreak

Five dead, nearly 200 sickened in romaine lettuce outbreak

Four more deaths have been linked to the national food poisoning outbreak blamed on tainted lettuce, bringing the total to five. A total of 197 cases were reported across 35 states, and 89 of them required the patient to be hospitalized. That being said, the CDC continues to investigate the outbreak and warned that new cases from May could still come to light due to a three-week lag in reporting. On Friday, health officials said they have learned of four more - two in Minnesota and one each in Arkansas and NY.

Four more deaths were reported from Arkansas (1), Minnesota (2), and NY (1).

According to the agency, most people who become sick start experiencing symptoms three to four days after consuming produce tainted by Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7. While they have traced the toxic E. coli strain to the Yuma growing region, they are still looking for the precise source - whether it originated in the water supply, harvesting equipment, a processing plant in the area or somewhere else.

Officials said that first illness began sometime between March 13 and May 12. Some said they did not eat romaine lettuce but were in close contact with someone who got sick after eating it.

Numerous new cases were people who became ill two to three weeks ago, when contaminated lettuce was still being sold.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the last shipment of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was harvested on April 26, and the season there is over.

Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness. 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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