Coli outbreak from romaine lettuce spreads

A plate of butternut Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce and roasted cubes of butternut squash

Fourteen more people have become ill from Escherichia coli linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma Arizona region, bringing the total number of those impacted by this outbreak to 98 people in 22 states, according to the FDA and CDC.

The reported strain of E. coli, which produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting.

The growing season in Yuma is pretty much over, but it's possible some illnesses will still occur, said Matthew Wise of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That is 14 more people across three additional states - Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin - since the last update on Wednesday, with officials expecting more illnesses tied to the outbreak in the coming weeks.

Officials added the Yuma Arizona E. coli outbreak is the largest Shiga toxin multi-state E. coli outbreak since 2006, when a similar outbreak linked to spinach was responsible for making more than 200 people ill. No deaths are reported. The types of E. coli that cause illness can be spread through contaminated water or food, or through contact with infected animals or persons, the CDC says.

According to the FDA, there are 84 cases in 19 states: Alaska (5), Arizona (5), California (13), Colorado (2), CT (2), Georgia (1), Idaho (10), IL (1), Louisiana (1), MI (2), Missouri (1), Montana (7), New Jersey (7), NY (2), OH (3), Pennsylvania (18), South Dakota (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (2). "We are investigating dozens of other fields as potential sources of the chopped Romaine lettuce", a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official said at the briefing. That farm's harvest has ended, Harris said.

The CDC saws a common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has not been identified.

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