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First death reported from E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

First death reported from E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

As of April 27, 121 people in 25 states have fallen ill from eating the tainted lettuce.

Health experts are advising retailers and restaurants not to serve or sell any remain lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.

Additional outbreak illnesses are expected to be reported in the coming weeks, according to the CDC. When it was first announced last month, it was confined to just seven states.

With the investigation into the source of contamination still under way, federal health officials are still warning the public to avoid any type of romaine lettuce unless they are certain that it didn't come from growing regions in Yuma, Ariz., which have been linked to the outbreak.

The CDC also added Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah to the states with reported cases. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention tallied 121 illnesses across 25 states, with 52 hospitalizations and 14 cases of kidney failure.

- Product labels often do not identify growing regions, so do not eat or buy romaine lettuce if you do not know where it was grown.

There has been no recall, in part because the lettuce traced to the Yuma farm, harvested between March 5-16, would be far beyond its 21-day shelf life, and no more lettuce is being grown on Harrison's fields, officials said last week.

Of the 102 cases with available information, 51% needed to be hospitalized, compared to a hospitalization rate of about 30% seen in other E. coli outbreaks, according to the CDC. This includes romaine in any form, including in a salad mix.

The reported strain of E. coli, which produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Signs of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination.

"Illnesses that occurred after April 11, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported". If you have romaine lettuce in your refrigerator you're advised to throw it away.

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