First death reported in romaine-linked E coli outbreak

A doctor shares tips on how people can take precautions against the E. Coli outbreak

It was the first reported death in the outbreak, which began in March and has spread to 25 states. This outbreak will likely keep growing, since it can take a few weeks from the time a person starts feeling ill until they go to the doctor, are diagnosed, and that illness is reported to public health officials.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 23 more cases were reported since Friday, bringing the total to 121.

The unusually high hospitalization rate of 51 percent shows the outbreak strain of E. coli O157: H7 is particularly risky.

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USA health authorities on Wednesday reported the first death in an outbreak of E.coli bacteria in romaine lettuce that has sickened 121 people across the United States.

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.

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Restaurants and retailers are being told to not serve or sell romaine lettuce coming from the Yuma, Arizona region. All romaine from the farm linked to Alaska's cases was harvested between Mar 5 and Mar 16, and health officials said last week that the facility is now growing grass.

Fifty-two people out of 102 with available information (or 51 percent) have been hospitalized, including 14 patients who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Signs of HUS include fatigue, decreased frequency of urination, and a loss of the normally pink color in the cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. Ask your suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce. Pennsylvania has reported 20 cases, and Idaho 11; no other state has reported more than eight. Although most recover in one week, it could lead to kidney failure. CDC's warning applies to whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.

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