Four more people dead from E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

Pearl Mccarthy
June 3, 2018

Three reported illnesses in Texas have been linked to the multistate outbreak of a unsafe bacteria in romaine lettuce, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, as of two weeks ago a total of six people in Canada have been sickened by E. coli linked to contaminated romaine lettuce, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

The Shiga toxin-producing bacteria has infected 197 people in 35 states since March, the CDC said in a new statistics report Friday.

The harvest season in Yuma, Arizona is over, and because of the 21-day shelf life of Romaine lettuce, officials do not believe that any of the tainted vegetables is on store shelves or in people's homes at this point.

Some affected people did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had contact with those who fell ill after consuming the popular salad plant, the CDC said. The new CDC report announces four more deaths - one in Arkansas, two in Minnesota and one in NY. On Friday, health officials said they had learned of four more - one in Arkansas, one in NY, and two in Minnesota.

You can not completely protect yourself from E. coli, but there are ways to minimize the risk.

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The number of illnesses and deaths linked to a multistate E. coli outbreak has risen. Of 187 people with information available, 89 (48%) have been hospitalized, including 26 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

The FDA initially said that only bagged and pre-chopped romaine lettuce that have been distributed to retailers across the country were contaminated with E. coli, but a group of inmates at a prison in Alaska also became sick after eating whole-head lettuce. Although the deaths and cases continue to add up, the CDC assure that it is now safe to eat romaine lettuce again.

The FDA said it may take a while to find out how the bacteria got into so much of the romaine lettuce supply.

This strain is involved in the Yuma romaine outbreak.

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

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