Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce is now deadly

U.S. health authorities on Wednesday reported the first death in an outbreak of E.coli bacteria in romaine lettuce that has sickened 121 people across the United States.

Federal health officials say the death was reported in California, but they did not provide more details.

Since April 27, the date of the CDC's last update, 23 additional people have been infected with the bacteria, and cases have been reported in three new states ― Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah.

Health officials say that the bad trend has been caused by romaine lettuce grown out of Yuma, Arizona, which happens to provide most of the romaine lettuce sold in the winter throughout the US. Restaurants and retailers are also instructed not to sell or serve romaine lettuce, and to check with their suppliers regarding where their romaine lettuce is sourced. While most people recover within a week, others can develop more severe symptoms - 14 of those hospitalized due to the current outbreak developed a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, the CDC said.

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As of May 1, 121 people in 25 states, including Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and now Kentucky, have fallen ill from eating the tainted lettuce.

The Washington Post said the outbreak is "approaching the scale of the 2006 baby spinach E. coli illness outbreak when 205 people became sick and five of them died".

The rest of the sicknesses aren't linked to Harrison Farms and investigators continue to probe the source of the chopped romaine lettuce causing the illness. Numerous people sickened across the country consumed chopped lettuce that had been sold in bagged form to restaurants. "Package labels often do not identify growing regions". The chopped romaine that was the initial clue in this outbreak also came from Yuma, Arizona, but officials have not been able to pinpoint a farm or distributor. It causes people to get sick within two to eight days after ingesting it, causing diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting. These complications are more common in young children under 5, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

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