Five people die in U.S. romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak


Four more deaths have been linked to a national food poisoning outbreak blamed on tainted lettuce, bringing the total to five. The growing season there ended six weeks ago, and it's unlikely any tainted lettuce is still in stores or people's homes, given its short shelf life.

Five people were killed and almost 200 were sickened by an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, but the threat of new cases has likely passed, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the CDC, 25 more ill people from 13 states were added to the lettuce investigation since the last update on May 16. A total of 197 cases were reported across 35 states, and 89 of them required the patient to be hospitalized.

Since mid-May, "four more deaths were reported, bringing the total to five deaths from Arkansas (1), California (1), Minnesota (2), and NY (1)", the CDC said in a statement. Some said they did not eat romaine lettuce but were in close contact with someone who got sick after eating it.

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 says no single grower, distributor or region can account for the spread.

It is the largest United States outbreak of E. coli since 200 people fell ill in 2006.

Eating the contaminated lettuce may cause diarrhea, vomiting and even kidney failure in severe cases. That being said, the CDC continues to investigate the outbreak and warned that new cases from May could still come to light due to a three-week lag in reporting.