More People Have Died From the Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control says the deadly E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce crops has expanded into three more states and that five people have now died as a result.

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.

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

Two deaths from the current outbreak occurred in Minnesota, and one each in Arkansas, California, and NY. On Friday, health officials said they had learned of four more - one in Arkansas, one in NY, and two in Minnesota.

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.

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Officials urge anyone who thinks they may be ill with an E. coli infection to see their doctor.

Sickness can begin three to four days after swallowing E. coli, with symptoms of diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

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

Officials also noted that some of the individuals who became ill never actually consumed the contaminated lettuce but were in close contact with someone else who had done so. Twenty-six of those patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure.

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