Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona.
Health officials announced on Friday that five people have now died after consuming tainted lettuce from Arizona, making this the nation's largest E. coli outbreak in a decade.
"Most of the newly reported cases are people who became sick two to three weeks ago, still within the window when contaminated romaine was available for sale", said the CDC statement. At least 89 people were hospitalized.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the last shipment of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was harvested on April 26, and the season there is over. On Friday, health officials said they have learned of four more - two in Minnesota and one each in Arkansas and NY. Two people from Minnesota, one person from Arkansas and one person from NY have died, according to the update. 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.
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The outbreak was first reported on March 13, reports CNN. Symptoms can include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps.
As of May 30 the investigation figures show 197 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 35 states.
Almost half of those who became ill had to be hospitalized. Some said they did not eat romaine lettuce but were in close contact with someone who got sick after eating it. Of those three cases, two developed a potentially fatal condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome that sometimes leads to kidney failure.
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