Nation/World

E. coli outbreak turns deadly with fatal case in California

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday one person from California died related to an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, providing an update on the multi-state outbreak of the disease.

Twenty-three more people fell ill since the last update on April 27, bringing the total to 121 people from 25 states, the CDC said.

Three more states – Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah- have reported cases, the CDC said in an email.

[Illness among Nome prison inmates exposed to lettuce is key to solving nationwide E. coli outbreak]

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.

The reported strain of E. coli, which produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

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. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.

The FDA is continuing to investigate the source of the chopped romaine lettuce that caused these illnesses and has identified dozens of other fields as possible sources.

[The E. coli outbreak is now the largest to span multiple states since 2006]

The CDC reiterated its advice of not eating or buying romaine lettuce, normally used in salads, unless the source of the lettuce can be confirmed.

(Reporting by Mrinalini Krothapalli)

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