June 1 (UPI) — The Centers for Disease Control said Friday more than two dozen additional Americans have been infected by an outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce.
The Shiga toxin-producing bacteria has infected 197 people in 35 states since March, the CDC said in a new statistics report Friday.
The new figures add 25 people, three states and four deaths since the last report May 16.
Overall, five deaths have been reported in Arkansas, California, Minnesota and New York. Another 89 were hospitalized, 26 of whom developed kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome. Canada’s Public Health Agency has also identified several people infected with E. coli.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the growing season for lettuce in Arizona, suspected in the spread of the bacteria, ended in mid-April. Since lettuce has a 21-day shelf life, it is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the area remains in restaurants, stores or people’s homes, the CDC said.
Some who became ill did not eat the lettuce but had close contact with those who did, the CDC report said.
Of 158 patients interviewed by state and local health officials, all but 18 reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started.
Those infected with E. coli typically experience severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms usually begin, on average, three to four days after bacteria is ingested.