5 dead, almost 200 sickened in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

Four more deaths have been linked to a national food poisoning outbreak blamed on tainted Arizona-grown romaine lettuce

Four more die in E.Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is investigating the outbreak alongside the CDC, believes that the probable link to all these illnesses is romaine lettuce sourced from the winter growing areas in and around the Yuma region in Arizona. Three more states have reported ill people - Arkansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

- Four more deaths have been linked to a national food poisoning outbreak blamed on tainted lettuce, bringing the total to five.

Twenty-five more people have taken ill since the last update from the agency on May 16, with 197 patients from 35 states now affected, the CDC said. On Friday, health officials said they had learned of four more - one in Arkansas, one in NY, and two in Minnesota.

Since mid-May, "four more deaths were reported, bringing the total to five deaths from Arkansas (1), California (1), Minnesota (2), and NY (1)", the CDC said in a statement.

However, the lettuce from that region is past its shelf life and is likely no longer being sold in stores or served in restaurants, the FDA said. Symptoms can include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps.

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Numerous new cases were people who became ill two to three weeks ago, when contaminated lettuce was still being sold.

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

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

It is the largest U.S. outbreak of E. coli since 200 people fell ill in 2006. A total of 26 people have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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