Nearly 150 People Suffer E. coli Poisoning From Romaine Lettuce; New States Added to List
Almost a month since the first reported cases, romaine lettuce continues to claim victims—149 people are sickened with E. coli.
Last week, we reported that one person in California died from the E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new details about 28 new cases that have popped up in Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas, and Florida, among others, bringing the list of states impacted by the outbreak to a whopping 29.
Ten people in Minnesota were infected with E. coli from romaine lettuce that was reported to the CDC today, Food Safety News reports. Last week's death was the first associated with the outbreak, which has now sickened 149 people from 29 states and sent at least 64 people to the hospital, according to the CDC. The illnesses are specifically related to romaine grown in the Yuma, Ariz. region, the agency says.
The California Department of Public Health was not immediately able to provide details about the deceased person, or the circumstances around their death.
People exposed to E. coli bacteria typically develop gastrointestinal issues that clear within about a week. This outbreak, however, is resulting in unusually high rates of hospitalization — roughly half of the sickened individuals have been hospitalized, as opposed to around 30% in typical E. coli outbreaks — and higher-than-average rates of complications, including a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. The first reported death underscores the severity of the E. coli strain driving the outbreak.
Until further notice, the CDC is advising consumers to avoid romaine lettuce unless they can confirm it was not grown in the Yuma area.