The ongoing E. Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, has affected a total of 84 people in 19 states, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to AZCentral, the CDC on Wednesday was able to confirm 24 new cases of E. coli infections in 10 states, all related to the current national outbreak. This added to the 60 people in nine states who were confirmed to have fallen ill after most of them claimed to have consumed the tainted lettuce.
The CDC added that 42 people, or half of the sickened individuals, were hospitalized, including nine people who were diagnosed with a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), according to the Miami Herald. While this condition could be potentially fatal, there have been no deaths reported so far, in relation to the outbreak.
Based on the CDC's most updated figures, the current E. coli outbreak is the most serious of its kind since a 2006 outbreak sickened 199 people, including 102 who had to be hospitalized. Out of the patients interviewed by officials, 95.5 percent said that they remembered eating romaine lettuce within one week of falling ill. The confirmed E. coli patients' ages range from 1 to 88, with 65 percent of the patients being female.
The CDC's E. coli fact sheet notes that most people who get infected by the bacteria suffer symptoms about three to four days after consuming tainted food or beverages. Symptoms vary from patient to patient, but usually include stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Patients normally recover from their symptoms within five to seven days, but there are some instances where infections could be life-threatening.With the E. coli outbreak believed by CDC officials to have originated from romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, area, the health agency warned consumers to avoid buying or eating romaine lettuce unless it's absolutely sure that the vegetable wasn't grown in or around Yuma. That includes throwing it out if still kept at home, and not eating it if served in restaurants.
There have been no warnings issued about romaine lettuce grown in other parts of the United States, though the CDC also advised people to dispose of their lettuce if unsure where it was grown. As of this writing, CDC officials have yet to identify a specific company that grows, produces, or ships the tainted lettuce, nor has the agency ordered any recalls.