1st death reported from E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

A recent Escherichia coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce that has spread across 25 states is now linked to one death in California, according to a CDC report released May 2.

The CDC reported April 25 the outbreak is the largest multistate food-borne E. coli outbreak since 2006, with 121 cases reported including 52 that resulted in hospitalization. 

The California Department of Public Health confirmed the death but did not offer additional details, citing patient privacy laws, according to The New York Times. California had 24 cases reported, the highest number in any state, followed by Pennsylvania with 20 cases and Idaho with 11. No other state has reported more than eight cases.

The number of cases reported May 2 increased by 23 from the CDC's last update April 27. The newest update includes illnesses starting as recently as April 21. However, E. coli infections often do not reach the CDC for two to three weeks, suggesting the case count may be higher.

The illnesses are linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region. The CDC advised restaurants and consumers to avoid romaine unless they confirm it was grown in a different region. 

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