First US death in tainted romaine lettuce outbreak

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Right now the E. coli breakout has not reached the state of Alabama but it has reached MS and Georgia. There were 24 reported cases in California, officials there said. Infections have been reported in 25 states with, as of May 1, a total of 121 people impacted.

A week ago the case count stood at 98 people, making for a 23 percent increase in the number of infected people in seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the United States, romaine harvesting usually shifts north to California at this time of year, but federal officials have said they can't guarantee there are no more products now coming out of the Yuma growing region.

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The unusually high hospitalization rate of 51 percent shows the outbreak strain of E. coli O157: H7 is particularly risky. In some cases, it can be life-threatening as victims develop kidney failure.

The most recent illness began on April 21, 2018.

Symptoms of this strain of E. coli include severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is often bloody, officials said. On average, it takes five to seven days to recover. In fact, the multiplier for this illness is just 2, which means that half of the people who get sick do see a doctor.

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The CDC has issued a warning, telling consumers to avoid eating romaine lettuce.

The CDC continues to warn against purchasing or consuming romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region, and said restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell lettuce from the area. This advice includes chopped romaine, whole heads, hearts of romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes that contain romaine lettuce. If you are unsure what type of lettuce is in your possession, it is best to throw it away. The agency identified a farm near Yuma, Ariz., as the source of the whole-head lettuce that sickened several people at an Alaskan correctional facility - but officials do not yet know precisely when or where in the supply chain the lettuce became contaminated.

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