5 dead, nearly 200 sickened in U.S. romaine lettuce outbreak

In an update Friday health officials said 25 more cases raised the total to 197 illnesses in 35 states. At least 89 were hospitalized

Four more die in E.Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

While they have traced the toxic E. coli strain to the Yuma growing region, they are still looking for the precise source - whether it originated in the water supply, harvesting equipment, a processing plant in the area or somewhere else.

Health officials announced on Friday that five people have now died after consuming tainted lettuce from Arizona, making this the nation's largest E. coli outbreak in a decade.

According to the latest statement from the CDC, numerous people affected took ill two to three weeks ago, when the contaminated lettuce was still on shop shelves.

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Bacteria sickens almost 100 people across 22 states; Claudia Cowan reports. 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. Canadian health officials also recently identified E. coli cases in several provinces that could potentially be linked to the outbreak in the United States.

Previously one death had been reported, in California.

Of the infected people, 89 have been hospitalised, and 26 have developed a kidney failure type known as hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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Numerous new cases were people who became ill two to three weeks ago, when contaminated lettuce was still being sold.

It is the largest USA outbreak of E. coli since 200 people fell ill in 2006. While almost 90 percent of those who fell ill reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were sickened, some told the CDC that they did not personally eat the lettuce but were in close contact with somebody who did.

Sickness can begin three to four days after swallowing E. coli, with symptoms of diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

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