Lettuce-Linked E. Coli Outbreak Soars to 98 Cases in 22 States; 46 Hospitalized

The CDC reiterated its warning not to eat any type of romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona

What to Know

  • Health investigators believe romaine lettuce from Arizona is behind the 22-state E. coli outbreak that has sickened 98 people
  • Seven cases have been reported in New Jersey, several have been confirmed in New York and Connecticut as well
  • 46 people have been hospitalized across the nation, 10 with a type of acute kidney failure; no deaths have been reported

Don't eat the lettuce.

The E. coli outbreak linked to Romaine lettuce grown in Arizona continues to expand, with the case total climbing to 98 across 22 states and 46 people requiring hospitalization, 10 of them for a type of acute kidney failure, the Centers for Disease Control said Friday.

That's an increase of 14 cases in just the last two days -- and nearly a half-dozen more hospitalizations. Last week, the CDC expanded its warning and told people to avoid all kinds of romaine lettuce that may have been grown in Yuma, Arizona. It reiterated that plea in its advisory on Friday. 

Investigators still haven't been able to determine the original source of the outbreak, which has now affected people in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and a wide swath of the south and midwest. The most cases have been reported in Pennsylvania (18), followed by California (16) and Idaho (10). To date, New Jersey has seven cases, New York has two and Connecticut has two. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13 to April 20. Sick people range in age from 1 to 88, with a median age of 31. Most of the victims have been female. Ten of the 46 related hospitalizations were for hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be a fatal form of kidney failure. 

Ninety six percent of 67 people interviewed in connection with the investigation reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started, the CDC said. Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. 

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