CDC: E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce continues to spread

  • CDC: E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce continues to spread

CDC: E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce continues to spread

The E.coli outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., said CDC officials.

The massive E. Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce has now sickened 149 people spread across 29 different states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in its latest update. However, some of the "new" cases are illnesses that happened earlier - back in March or early April - but are only now being reported. Symptoms of the most recent illnesses reported began April 25. Minnesota health officials said this week they had 10 illnesses with onset of symptoms occurring this month, so outbreak numbers are still increasing.

In the current outbreak, at least 64 people have been hospitalized in the United States, including 17 with a type of kidney failure. One death was reported from California.

View a map of states affected with the number of reported cases for each here. Three people got sick in Canada, and information is pending for the fourth person.

The CDC said 112 people were interviewed as part of an investigation into the outbreak and 102 reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they fell ill.

If any symptoms of E. coli infection surface, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends drinking lots of fluids and getting rest as well as contacting a health care provider.

Most people recover within the first week, according to the CDC, but some infections can be severe.

If the Canadian market is selling contaminated romaine lettuce, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will recall the product.

Products containing romaine lettuce often don't indicate growing regions, so it could be hard for consumers to tell whether the vegetable they're buying is tainted with bacteria. Often called "the winter salad bowl", the Yuma area grows billions of dollars worth of iceberg, romaine, spinach and leafy lettuces. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), romaine lettuce has a shelf life of 21 days.

Federal health officials in the US say in this outbreak investigation, they've identified romaine lettuce as the common food cause.