Deaths From E. Coli Tainted Lettuce

E. coli outbreak kills 5, sickens hundreds, stumps investigators

Deaths were reported in Arkansas (1), California (1), Minnesota (2), and NY (1).

Five people have died in a major E.coli outbreak in the U.S. involving romaine lettuce, with 197 cases reported across 35 states, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals concerned that they may have eaten tainted romaine lettuce should contact their healthcare professionals, though the lettuce in question has long-since been stripped from grocery store shelves.

Eighty-nine per cent of the 158 people interviewed reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they fell ill.

In addition to the four additional deaths, there has been an increase in the number of people sick from the tainted lettuce. According to certain critics, government investigators may never be able to get to the bottom of the crisis now that the growing season for the lettuce is over, and the vast majority of it has been removed from consumer shelves.

But in early spring, Yuma is the main source for lettuce sold across much of the U.S.

Five people have died and almost 200 from about three dozen states have been sickened by E. coli in a growing outbreak that has so far stumped federal investigators. As of now, many supplies have been infected and it has become quite tough to consume romaine lettuce.

While washing produce may remove pesticide residue, dirt and debris, it's not effective at eliminating E. coli, which can even get into the interior of lettuce. Officials are looking into the water supply, equipment, and processing facilities as possible sources of the outbreak. There is usually a gap between when a person consumes a contaminated food and when they actually start experiencing symptoms of illness.

"Most of the newly reported cases are people who became sick two to three weeks ago, still within the window when contaminated romaine was available for sale", the CDC said, according to NBC News.

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. More severe cases included kidney failure and death. Most E. coli cases are relatively mild, but certain cases can deteriorate, causing death in the most extreme circumstances. It produces a potentially deadly poison called Shiga toxin.

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