Health Care

Five die in United States lettuce E. coli outbreak

Five die in United States 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.

The CDC stresses, however, that most of the newly reported cases involve people who fell ill two to three weeks ago, when contaminated lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., area was still available to consumers.

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. The last harvest was collected on April 16, and because the lettuce only has a 21-day shelf life, it is highly unlikely that any lettuce covered by the advisory is still available. On Friday, health officials said they have learned of four more - two in Minnesota and one each in Arkansas and NY.

After the initial outbreak, the CDC issued a warning on romaine lettuce.

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The patients who died were from Arkansas, California, Minnesota and NY. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018 to May 12, 2018.

Many patients in this outbreak became so ill that they needed to be hospitalized, including 26 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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

The reported strain of E. coli, which produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. While almost 90 percent of those who fell ill reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were sickened, some told the CDC that they did not personally eat the lettuce but were in close contact with somebody who did.


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