Health Care

5 dead, almost 200 sickened in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

5 dead, almost 200 sickened in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak”

An additional 25 people have become ill from eating lettuce contaminated with E. coli, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

Two of the victims infected lettuce was from Minnesota and three from Arkansas, California and NY.

So far, five people in MI have been sickened in the outbreak. There is typically a lag between the time when someone falls ill and the CDC is alerted.

In the United States nearly 200 people in 35 States were poisoned salad lettuce, five people were killed as a result of poisoning. A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study published in Public Health Reports in April of this year estimated that depending on the severity of the outbreak, a single foodborne illness incident can cost a fast food restaurant between $4,000 (no loss of revenue, fines or legal fees) to $1.9 million (fines, revenue lost, legal fees).

According to the latest statement from the CDC, numerous people affected fell ill two to three weeks ago, when the contaminated lettuce was still on shop shelves.

The recent E. coli outbreak is the most severe to hit the US since 2006, when three people died in an outbreak linked to uncooked spinach.

The elderly and young children are particularly vulnerable, because the bacteria causes a type of kidney failure. Some said they did not eat romaine lettuce but were in close contact with someone who got sick after eating it. At least 89 people were hospitalized.

Although investigators have determined that E. coli came from contaminated romaine lettuce that were grown in Arizona's Yuma region near the border to Southern California, the Food and Drug Administration has not been able to link the outbreak to one farm, processor or distributor, Scott Gottlieb, the agency's commissioner, and Stephen Ostroff, the deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in an update Thursday.

Researchers have to visit people who are reported sick, test them to make sure they were infected by the specific strain being investigated, and then question them intensively about what they ate or drank days and weeks before.

Officials are saying that it is "unlikely" that any romaine lettuce from Yuma is still in stores or restaurants.

Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.



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