5 dead, nearly 200 sickened in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

5 dead, nearly 200 sickened in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

5 dead, nearly 200 sickened in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

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

The CDC's May 30 update released on Friday also reveals that 25 more ill people from 13 states were added to the investigation since the last update on May 16.

Some affected people did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had contact with those who fell ill after consuming the popular salad plant, the CDC said. On Friday, health officials said they have learned of four more - two in Minnesota and one each in Arkansas and NY. 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. 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.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is investigating the outbreak alongside the CDC, believes that the probable link to all these illnesses is romaine lettuce sourced from the winter growing areas in and around the Yuma region in Arizona. Another 89 were hospitalized, 26 of whom developed kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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

Unlike spinach, which is often cooked, romaine - and lettuce in general - is more common as a culprit in E.coli outbreaks because it's eaten raw.

Almost half of those who became ill had to be hospitalized.

Those infected with E. coli typically experience severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

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