CDC: Nearly 150 sickened by E. coli-tainted lettuce

CDC: Nearly 150 sickened by E. coli-tainted lettuce

Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas have joined the list of states reporting at least one E. coli illness linked to the outbreak.

As of this week, people in 29 states have fallen ill from consuming tainted lettuce traced to the Yuma, Arizona, region, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. Previously, the CDC warned that the strain of E. coli identified in this outbreak, O157:H7, is particularly virulent and known to be associated with higher hospitalization and complication rates.

Besides the death recorded in California, 17 patients have developed a unsafe form of kidney failure, the agency said.

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The illnesses were reported in four provinces, including two cases in Saskatchewan. Of the 129 patients the CDC has information on, half have been hospitalized. "Romaine lettuce has a shelf life of several weeks, and contaminated lettuce could still be in homes, stores, and restaurants". "Most people get diarrhea [often bloody], severe stomach cramps and vomiting", according to the CDC. With supportive treatment, most people recover in a matter of five to seven days.

"Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department", the agency said.

The bureau says if it's determined that polluted romaine lettuce is at the Canadian marketplace, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will remember the merchandise as needed.

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The CDC still believes that lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona, region is still the primary cause of the outbreak, but the group has thus far been unable to pinpoint exactly where in the distribution chain the contamination is occurring.

This advisory includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads containing romaine lettuce.

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