Coli outbreak in lettuce spreads even futrther, more deaths confirmed

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According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, and the harvest season is over.

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.

Four more people have died as a result of the E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce, bringing the total to five deaths, health officials reported Friday. At least 89 people were hospitalized.

However, the lettuce from that region is past its shelf life and is likely no longer being sold in stores or served in restaurants, the FDA said. 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. Some said they did not eat romaine lettuce but were in close contact with someone who got sick after eating it. Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018 to May 12, 2018.

Symptoms, which begin about three to four days after consuming the bacteria, can include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC. A total of 26 people have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Officials urge anyone who thinks they may be ill with an E. coli infection to see their doctor.

As of May 30 the investigation figures show 197 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 35 states.

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