Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

CDC confirms five deaths connected to E. coli-tainted lettuce


That brings the total death count from the recent E. coli outbreak to five.

The outbreak is the largest in the United States since 2006, when spinach tainted with a similar strain of E. coli sickened more than 200 people.

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. There is typically a lag between the time when someone falls ill and the CDC is alerted. 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.

According to the latest CDC update, there have been a total of 197 illnesses, 89 hospitalizations and five deaths in 35 states.

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


The outbreak was first reported on March 13, reports CNN.

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. Some said they did not eat romaine lettuce but were in close contact with someone who got sick after eating it.

The recent E. coli outbreak is the most severe to hit the US since 2006, when three people died in an outbreak linked to uncooked spinach.

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

Romaine lettuce grown in the Arizona region was last harvested in mid-April. Eighty-nine people have been hospitalized, and 26 of them developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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