CDC: 4 more dead from E. coli outbreak in last 2 weeks


Four more people have died from tainted romaine lettuce, federal health officials said Friday, bringing the total to five deaths related to a virulent strain of E. coli whose source has still not been located. There have been 197 people sickened in 35 states, the CDC report said.

It takes two to three weeks between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC.

Overall, five deaths have been reported in Arkansas, California, Minnesota and NY.

Romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region in Arizona is thought to be the source of the latest E. coli outbreak. It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in people's homes, stores, or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life. Twenty-six of those patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure.

"Some people who became sick did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had close contact with someone else who got sick from eating romaine lettuce".

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As of June 1, 89 people have been hospitalized by the outbreak, but a recall has not been announced for romaine lettuce.

Almost half of those who became ill had to be hospitalized. Gottlieb is Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Ostroff is FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine.

Sickness can begin three to four days after swallowing E. coli, with symptoms of diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.

The recent E. coli outbreak is the most severe to hit the USA since 2006, when three people died in an outbreak linked to uncooked spinach.