Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce spreads to more states

Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce spreads to more states

It's unclear if new illness are still occurring.

So far, a total of 149 cases caused by a particularly virulent strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported.

Sixty-four people have been hospitalized, the CDC said, and 17 of those have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure.

Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas have joined the list of states reporting at least one E. coli illness linked to the outbreak.

1 death, formerly reported, Happened in California.

Illnesses linked to a deadly E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce are continuing to rise, with 28 additional people found to have been sickened by the bacteria since last week, bringing the total to 149, health officials said. Of the 129 patients the CDC has good information on, 64 (50 percent) have required hospitalization, the agency noted.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says two of the six Canadians reported travelling to the US before falling ill due to E. coli O157, three became infected in Canada and the remaining case is under investigation.

Symptoms of E. coli typically begin three to four days after the bacteria is ingested. But there is a 21-day shelf life for romaine, the agency says, so there might still be lettuce in the supply chain.

Products containing romaine lettuce often don't indicate growing regions, so it could be hard for consumers to tell whether the vegetable they're buying is tainted with bacteria.

As previously reported, data indicates that the contaminated romaine lettuce originated from the Yuma, AZ, growing region.

To explain the diverse geographical spread of this outbreak, the FDA said it is still investigating multiple points of origin and distribution. The CDC warns consumers not to buy romaine unless they can verify the region of production.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region in Arizona and California is no longer being produced and distributed, so the potential for exposure to contaminated lettuce is reduced.

This advisory includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads containing romaine lettuce.

In April, the CDC warned Americans to toss out any romaine lettuce they might have bought in stores.

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