Published: Sat, May 05, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

California death linked to romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

California death linked to romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

Romaine lettuce grows near Soledad, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. Nine people were killed and more than 700 people got sick across 46 states. They identified Harrison Farms in Yuma, Arizona as the source of whole romaine heads that sickened eight people at the Anvil Mountain Correctional Facility in Nome, Alaska.

The person who died in California has not been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which expanded its tally of victims Wednesday to 121 in 25 states.

California has 24 known cases, more than any other states. Of 102 people with information available, 52 (51%) have been hospitalized, including 14 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

FDA and CDC are continuing their investigations to bring more clarity to this outbreak.

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But what had health officials so concerned is that there "is a higher hospitalization rate than usual for E. coli O157:H7 infections, which is usually around 30 percent".

The people confirmed with infections range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 29.

"The main effect is that people can become quite dehydrated and because of that they can become quite ill", Johnson said.

Investigators from the Food and Drug Administration have not yet determined where the vast majority of the suspect romaine was grown. "United States Department of Agriculture Market News Shipping records maintained by the Arizona Department of Agriculture indicate the last date romaine lettuce was shipped from Arizona was April 16". Romaine harvest at the farm concluded March 16, according to the FDA.

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The CDC has pinpointed Yuma, Arizona as the region likely growing lettuce contaminated with E. coli.

In the United States, romaine harvesting usually shifts north to California at this time of year, but federal officials have said they can't guarantee there are no more products now coming out of the Yuma growing region.

Is the romaine lettuce at your local grocer safe to eat? The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.

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