Death toll rises to 5 in US tainted lettuce outbreak

Henrietta Brewer
June 3, 2018

On Friday, health officials said they have learned of four more - another in California as well as one each in Arkansas, Minnesota and NY.

In an update Friday, health officials said 25 more cases raised the total to 197 illnesses in 35 states, including MI. The last harvest was collected on April 16, and because the lettuce only has a 21-day shelf life, it is highly unlikely that any lettuce covered by the advisory is still available.

Two deaths from the current outbreak occurred in Minnesota, and one each in Arkansas, California, and NY. The warning is no longer in effect as the contaminated lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region is no longer harvested.


Officials said that first illness began sometime between March 13 and May 12.

Some affected people did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had contact with those who fell ill after consuming the popular salad plant, the CDC said. Another 89 were hospitalized, 26 of whom developed kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Officials urge anyone who thinks they may be ill with an E. coli infection to see their doctor.


Most new cases involve people who became sick two or three weeks ago, when the tainted lettuce was still available for sale.

Meanwhile, government authorities are still trying to figure out how and why the outbreak happened.

Symptoms of E. coli vary, but include may include stomach cramps, fevers, bloody diarrhea and vomiting among others.


Romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region in Arizona is thought to be the source of the latest outbreak, although the Food and Drug Administration said no single grower, distributor or region could account for the spread.

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