January 16, 2019

Coli outbreak claims its first victim

05 May 2018, 01:21 | Rodolfo Wallace

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First death reported from E. coli in California

This is the first death associated with the outbreak, which has now sickened 121 people from 25 states and sent at least 52 people to the hospital, according to the CDC.

Last month, USA authorities took the unusual step of telling people to throw out any romaine lettuce they had, and not eat it unless they were sure it was not from the Yuma, Arizona area which grows most of the romaine lettuce sold in the country during winter.

The death was reported in California, but state and federal health officials did not provide any other details.

The number of people hospitalized because of the tainted romaine is higher than usual.

Romaine lettuce to be specific.

Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah are the latest states to report illnesses bringing the total number of states impacted to 25.

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People infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7, by date of illness onset.

As discussed by Matthew Wise, PhD, MPH, deputy branch chief for Outbreak Response at the CDC in last week's media telebriefing, the outbreak strain "is one that tends to cause more severe illness based on the kind of toxin it produces".

They have managed to identify one farm linked to the lettuce - a distributor of whole heads of romaine that sickened people at a correctional facility in Alaska. As a result, the CDC has reissued their ban on romaine lettuce, so don't eat any unless you are certain it did not come from that area.

California now leads the nation with 24 cases, followed by Pennsylvania with 20 and Idaho with 11.

"I'm not buying any whatsoever and I'm not even getting a salad at a restaurant that has romaine lettuce in it", said Liverpool resident Debbie Dillabough.

The Food and Drug Administration said most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten.

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