E.Coli infected romaine lettuce claims more lives
Four people died after eating romaine lettuce suspected of having an infectious strain of E. coli virus, bringing the total death count of related incident to up to five.
According to a report from the New York Times, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention updated the case count: 197 people from 35 states were sickened.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously announced through their blog that the widespread contamination of lettuce in Arizona has already been cleared.
“Any contaminated product from the Yuma growing region has already worked its way through the food supply and is no longer available for consumption. So any immediate risk is gone,” the post stated.
According to the CDC some of the ill patients had not eaten romaine themselves but became sick through contact with others who had. The agency said that most people who become sick start experiencing symptoms three to four days after consuming produce tainted by Shiga-toxin producing E.coli O157:H7. Most recover within a week.
The last reported illness began on May 12 and there is typically a lag between the time when someone falls ill and the CDC is alerted.
Symptoms can include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and severe stomach cramps. Many patients in this outbreak became so ill that they needed to be hospitalized, including 26 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
The FDA said its investigators were still working to trace sources of the outbreak. While they have traced the toxic E. coli strain to the Yuma growing region, they are still looking for the precise source — whether it originated in the water supply, harvesting equipment, a processing plant in the area or somewhere else.