Five Dead, Nearly 200 Sickened in Romaine Lettuce Outbreak

Getty Images  iStock

Getty Images iStock

On Friday, health officials said they have learned of four more - another in California as well as one each in Arkansas, Minnesota and NY.

The Shiga toxin-producing bacteria has infected 197 people in 35 states since March, the CDC said in a new statistics report Friday. In a June 1 advisory, the agency said that four additional deaths were reported in Arkansas, North Carolina and NY in addition to the original death in California.

The disease appears to have been spread from romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma region of Arizona.

The CDC said that some of the affected people had not eaten lettuce, but had contact with others who had fallen ill.

Most new cases involve people who became sick two or three weeks ago, when the tainted lettuce was still available for sale.

Many patients in this outbreak became so ill that they needed to be hospitalized, including 26 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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Meanwhile, government authorities are still trying to figure out how and why the outbreak happened.

Romaine lettuce grown in the Arizona region was last harvested in mid-April.

"Any contaminated product from the Yuma growing region has already worked its way through the food supply and is no longer available for consumption", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

So far, five people in MI have been sickened in the outbreak.

According to the latest statement from the CDC, numerous people affected fell ill two to three weeks ago, when the contaminated lettuce was still on shop shelves.

Symptoms, which begin about three to four days after consuming the bacteria, can include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC.

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