Federal health officials announced today an additional 23 ill people in the multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce, bringing the outbreak total to 121.
With Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Utah now reporting cases, the number of states affected now stands at 25.
Fifty-two people out of 102 with available information (51%) have been hospitalized, including 14 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). One death was reported from California.
The FDA is continuing to investigate illnesses related to romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region.
They identified one farm as the source of the whole-head romaine lettuce that sickened several people at a correctional facility in Alaska. However, the agency has not determined where in the supply chain the contamination occurred.
Most of the illnesses in this outbreak are not linked to romaine lettuce from this farm, and are associated with chopped romaine lettuce. The agency is investigating dozens of other fields as potential sources of the chopped romaine lettuce.
People get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli an average of 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting.
Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.