Coli outbreak spreads, 4 more states included

Coli outbreak spreads, 4 more states included

Florida is the latest state hit with an E.coli epidemic linked to contaminated Romaine lettuce.

As of May 8, 2018, 149 people from 29 states were reported to be infected with this particular strain of E. coli. Symptoms of the most recent illnesses reported began April 25.

The CDC said some of the illnesses that have occurred in the last two to three weeks may not yet be officially known, because of the time lag between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the infection is reported to the agency.

Last week, the CDC announced that one person had died; the death, in California, was the first known fatality. Of the 164 cases, 64 - or 50 percent - involve hospitalizations, with 17 developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure that could be life-threatening. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

The CDC cautions against the use of antibiotics when dealing with this strain of E. coli because studies have connected antibiotic use with an increased risk for hemolytic uremic syndrome in both children and adults. The CDC advises anyone with these symptoms to seek medical attention as E. coli infection is typically diagnosed via a stool sample.

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The outbreak has been linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona area, which provides most of the romaine sold in the United States during winter months.

"Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, do not eat or buy romaine lettuce if you do not know where it was grown", the agency said in its warning. Yesterday, the CDC revealed the outbreak has spread to 29 states including Texas.

Federal health officials in the USA say in this outbreak investigation, they've identified romaine lettuce as the common food cause.

Products containing romaine lettuce often don't indicate growing regions, so it could be hard for consumers to tell whether the vegetable they're buying is tainted with bacteria.

The notice states that all Canadians who are traveling to the USA, or who shop for groceries across the border and purchase romaine lettuce in the US should follow the CDC advice.

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