Published: Wed, June 06, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

More Deaths Tied To E. Coli Outbreak From Tainted Yuma Lettuce

More Deaths Tied To E. Coli Outbreak From Tainted Yuma Lettuce

This latest report from brings the total number of deaths from tainted romaine lettuce to five.

The FDA said it may take a while to find out how the bacteria got into so much of the romaine lettuce supply. It was reported by Center for Disease Control that 25 more people have fell victim to the infection, and the report was filed on Friday. The four other deaths were reported in Arkansas, Minnesota and NY, according to the CDC. Furthermore, any contaminated lettuce is already gone from the food supply.

"The agency is examining all possibilities, including that contamination may have occurred at any point along the growing, harvesting, packaging, and distribution chain before reaching consumers", the statement said. So, play it safe until this outbreak officially ends, and continue to avoid romaine lettuce.

Although investigators have determined that the E. coli came from contaminated romaine lettuce grown in Arizona's Yuma region near the border with Southern California, the Food and Drug Administration has not been able to link the outbreak to one farm, processor or distributor, according to Scott Gottlieb, the agency's commissioner, and Stephen Ostroff, the deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, in an update Thursday.

While washing produce may remove pesticide residue, dirt and debris, it's not effective at eliminating E. coli, which can even get into the interior of lettuce.

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Because majority of the illnesses came from prepackaged vegetables that have been passed on from suppliers to distributors to processing facilities where they were chopped and bagged, finding out where they were grown is far more cumbersome.

This is the biggest Shiga-toxin producing E. coli outbreak since a 2006 outbreak linked to spinach.

They usually appear within three or four days of consuming the bacteria. Some people who were infected did not eat the lettuce themselves, but had simply been near people who had. They may have been merely in contact with someone who was exposed to it.

Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe. The symptoms of the E coli poisoning included vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. Eighty-nine of the cases required hospitalization, 26 of those cases involved a potentially lethal kidney failure, and five cases resulted in death.

Most E. coli bacteria are harmless, but one strain, called E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe disease.

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