E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce expands to 29 states, 149 sickened

The nationwide Escherichia coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce has spread to 29 states and sickened 149 people, the CDC reported May 9, which is 28 more ill people since the agency's last update May 2.

The CDC had information available for 129 people who were sickened. Of those people, 64 (50 percent) have been hospitalized, which includes 17 patients who developed severe kidney failure. One patient in California died.

However, the CDC noted a lag in reporting time, meaning officials may not be aware of people who have been sickened in the past two or three weeks. The most recent illness the agency reported began April 25.

"We still continue to go full-bore in trying to identify the source, not only the source of the contamination but also how the contamination actually happened," Stephen Ostroff, MD, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, told The Washington Post.

The CDC is warning consumers to avoid eating or buying romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region, which grows most of the lettuce and other leafy greens consumed in the U.S. during winter months through early April.

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