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California death is 1st in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak


The romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak has turned fatal, according Wednesday’s CDC update. The first death has been reported as the number of sick people grows by 23 to 121 and the number of states affected grows by three to 25.
The romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak turned deadly this week, with the first reported death, according to Wednesday’s update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Also, now, 23 people have been added to the ill count since Friday and there’s currently at least one case in half the states, 25.
The death occurred in California, which now has the most cases, 24.
Meanwhile, nothing’s changed as far as the CDC’s advice for consumers — avoid all romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., region and all romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it’s NOT from the Yuma region — or as far as tracing the source of the outbreak beyond Harrison Farms. Harrison was the source of the whole head romaine lettuce that sickened eight inmates at an Alaska prison.
This outbreak’s Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7 has sickened 121 people in 25 states, with Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah discovering their first cases since Friday. More cases are expected.
Sickness from E. coli starts two to 10 days after consuming the contaminated food or water, usually three to four days. Five to seven days of cramps and bloody diarrhea usually follow. If those symptoms get harsh enough, they drive victims to the hospital. Some people develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the form of kidney failure that can make a hit of E. coli fatal.
Pennsylvania has 20 cases, the next highest behind California. Idaho has 11. Arizona, Alaska and Montana each have 8. New Jersey has seven. Washington has six. Georgia and Michigan each have four. Ohio has three. New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Colorado each have two. Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin have one each.
The only falling numbers in the outbreak belong to the percentage hospitalized. Of the 121 sick, the CDC has information on 102, of whom 52 (51 percent) have been hospitalized. That’s a slight dip from 53 percent at the Friday update, yet a few floors above the 30 percent called normal for an E. coli outbreak by Dr. Matthew Wise, the CDC’s deputy branch chief for outbreak response.
“The strain in this outbreak tends to cause more hospitalizations,” Wise said Friday.

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