Multistate E. coli outbreak largest since 2006

A recent outbreak of infections connected to romaine lettuce is now the largest multistate food-borne Escherichia coli outbreak since 2006, according to a CDC report released April 25.

Between mid-March and mid-April, at least 84 people were infected across 19 states. Illnesses contracted after April 5 may not yet have been reported because of the time it for an illness report to reach the CDC.

"Product labels often do not identify growing regions," the agency said, advising to avoid eating or buying romaine lettuce if the location where it was grown is unknown.

There have been larger outbreaks in recent years, but they have been geographically limited. 

The 2006 multistate outbreak, which the CDC traced to contaminated spinach, was linked to 238 illnesses and five deaths. Although there have been no deaths from the current outbreak, half of those sickened have been hospitalized, the agency noted. Nine patients developed a form of kidney failure.

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