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

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

What is still not known is exactly where the lettuce was tainted by the E. coli.

Five people in the United States have died after eating romaine lettuce that was contaminated with E. coli bacteria, whose source remains a mystery, officials said Friday. The new CDC report announces four more deaths - one in Arkansas, two in Minnesota and one in NY.

Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak, the largest in a decade, to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona. That means it is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in people's homes, grocery stores or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life. Deaths have been confirmed in Arkansas, California, Minnesota and NY with two of those deaths happening in Minnesota.

Officials said that first illness began sometime between March 13 and May 12. A total of 197 cases were reported across 35 states, and 89 of them required the patient to be hospitalized.

When a person becomes infected with the bacteria, it can take two to three weeks before a report to the CDC.

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Officials also noted that some of the individuals who became ill never actually consumed the contaminated lettuce but were in close contact with someone else who had done so.

According to the Mayo Clinic, O157 E.coli symptoms include diarrhea, which could be bloody, as well as abdominal cramping or pain, and in some people, nausea.

While most people recover within a week, some illnesses can last longer and be more severe, the CDC cautioned.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education.

This story has been corrected to show that the state with two deaths was Minnesota, not California.

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