CDC confirms five deaths connected to E. coli-tainted lettuce

In an update Friday health officials said 25 more cases raised the total to 197 illnesses in 35 states. At least 89 were hospitalized

A total of five people have died and 197 got sick in the outbreak, the largest E. coli outbreak in the more than a decade, the CDC said.

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

Canada's Public Health Agency has also recorded six cases of E. coli "with a similar genetic fingerprint" to the United States infections.

The E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce killed one person, sent 75 people to the hospital, and made 172 people across across 30 states ill. "So any immediate risk is gone".

The cause of the poisoning was lettuce from Arizona contaminated with E. coli, reports the Associated Press.

According to the official blog of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11 fields in the Brawley, Calif. area are shown to be original sources of the romaine lettuce.

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. While almost 90 percent of those who fell ill reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were sickened, some told the CDC that they did not personally eat the lettuce but were in close contact with somebody who did.

The sweeping advisory came after information tied to some new illnesses prompted health officials to caution against eating all kinds of romaine lettuce that came from Yuma.

Of those who became ill, about half had be hospitalized, with 26 developing a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, the CDC said.

Most of the newly reported sick people became ill within the period when contaminated romaine lettuce was still available. This takes an average of two to three weeks.

"It often includes investigating the multiple steps along the way. It's a labor-intensive task".

In April, the CDC warned Americans to toss out any romaine lettuce they might have bought in stores.

Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.



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