E. Coli Outbreak In Lettuce Takes More Lives

REUTERS/Michael Fiala

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Vandana Rambaran Political Reporter
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Four deaths have resulted from romaine lettuce contaminated by E. coli bacteria since May 16, according to a report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

Two of the deaths occurred in Minnesota, one in Arkansas, and one in New York. One hundred ninety-seven people have been infected by E. coli since March. In total, five deaths have occurred. Eighty-nine people were hospitalized and 26 have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which causes the destruction of red blood cells and can sometimes be fatal.

Twenty-five people from 13 states in the country have been infected with the bacteria in the past two weeks, even after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined the last of the infected lettuce harvest from the Yuma growing region of Arizona was shipped to retailers around the country in mid-April and likely doesn’t exist in grocery stores, homes, restaurants or elsewhere anymore. (RELATED: ”I.M. Healthy’ Peanut Butter Substitute Made A Dozen People Sick With E. Coli)

Still, the illness takes two to three weeks to perpetuate, which is why individuals who came in contact with a person who had E. coli or have eaten previously infected lettuce are still susceptible to illness, according to the CDC.

The CDC advises consumers to report symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting to a doctor if they think they have been infected with E. coli. The agency also advises consumers to exercise caution when handling food, taking measures to wash hands and keep food preparation areas clean.

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