4 People Dead, 187 Hospitalized After U.S. Outbreak: CDC Officials Baffled

Four more people died from an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday, bringing the total to five.

Twenty-five more people have fallen ill since the last update from the agency on May 16, with 197 patients from 35 states now affected, the CDC said.

“Most of the newly reported cases are people who became sick two to three weeks ago, still within the window when contaminated romaine was available for sale,” the CDC said, according to NBC News. “Some people who became sick did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had close contact with someone else who got sick from eating romaine lettuce.”

 The patients who died were from Arkansas, California, Minnesota, and New York.

“Eighty-nine people out of 187 with available information (48 percent) have been hospitalized, including 26 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome,” the CDC said.

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration has said the harvest season for romaine lettuce is over.

The reported strain of E. coli, which produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.

“Any contaminated product from the Yuma growing region has already worked its way through the food supply and is no longer available for consumption. So any immediate risk is gone,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and Dr. Stephen Ostroff, FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, wrote in a statement.

Other details were not made clear.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

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