An additional four deaths have reported this Friday from a crop of romaine lettuce that is believed to be tainted with a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria. This latest report from pressherald.com brings the total number of deaths from tainted romaine lettuce to five. Health officials are confident that the deaths are due to contaminated lettuce, but have not been able to pinpoint precisely the source of the contamination.
In addition to the four additional deaths, there has been an increase in the number of people sick from the tainted lettuce. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention now reports that almost 200 people have gotten sick in 35 different states. New York, Arkansas, and Minnesota were the states where the recent four deaths had occurred.
The good news is that the contaminated lettuce is no longer on the shelves for sale. Officials say that the growing season for the contaminated lettuce in Yuma, Arizona is now over. Yuma is the place where the contaminated lettuce is believed to have originated from. Furthermore, any contaminated lettuce is already gone from the food supply. It has been consumed or destroyed in the chain by now. The romaine lettuce you see in the stores right now is safe to consume.
The Food and Drug Administration have pinpointed the source of the E. coli contamination to farms in the Yuma, Arizona region. They are still, however, looking for the precise source of how the E. coli bacteria got into the lettuce in the first place. Officials are looking into the water supply, equipment, and processing facilities as possible sources of the outbreak. It is even possible that the cause of contamination occurred in another location outside of Yuma.
The risk from the E. coli contaminated bacteria was said to have subsided over two weeks ago, according to health officials. The FDA says that people got sick by consuming tainted lettuce when it was still on the shelves. There is usually a gap between when a person consumes a contaminated food and when they actually start experiencing symptoms of illness. The last reported case of illness from E. coli lettuce poisoning occurred on May 12.
Some people who have fallen ill may have not even consumed any contaminated lettuce. They may have been merely in contact with someone who was exposed to it. The majority of people who fell ill recovered within a week. The symptoms of the E coli poisoning included vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. More severe cases included kidney failure and death. The E coli responsible for producing this toxin is E.coli O157:H7. It produces a potentially deadly poison called Shiga toxin.