Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce turns deadly

E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce Claims Its First FatalityMore

The illnesses are linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region.

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.

That's an increase of 23 people and three states - Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah - since the most recent CDC update on Friday.

A person in California has died from the E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Wednesday. The E. coli outbreak affecting romaine lettuce continues to worsen as more people become ill in an increasing number of states. People get sick within two to eight days of swallowing the germ, which causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting.

Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer who has been involved in food-borne illness lawsuits for decades, said the investigators had not explained how, when and where the bacteria contaminated the romaine which is spread to so many people and places. "I mean, candidly, that's ridiculous".

The CDC urges people not to eat romaine lettuce unless it can be confirmed it didn't come from the Yuma region. But even if no one is eating tainted lettuce now, case counts may still rise because there's a lag in reporting.

Hladky said since the outbreak has occurred she's had a few customers ask about it, but not too many.

"The agency is investigating dozens of other fields as potential sources of the chopped romaine lettuce and will share information as it becomes available", the FDA promises.

"This is a higher hospitalization rate than usual for E. coli O157:H7 infections, which is usually around 30%". Romaine lettuce now in our stores, including romaine used in deli items, is not from the Yuma region but, rather comes from other growing regions.