At least 23 new cases of E. coli have been reported since last Friday, CDC said, bringing the case total to 121. CDC provided no additional details regarding the death, and the California Department of Public Health declined to comment due to patient privacy laws.
The epidemic, which was first identified on March 13, has consumers abstaining from romaine lettuce sourced from the Yuma, Arizona region. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), E. coli infections at an Alaska prison were tied to whole-head romaine from Yuma-based Harrison Farms.
“Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten,” FDA said. “The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.”
Unless you know specifically where your romaine lettuce was grown, CDC says to toss it just in case.
Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah were new on the list of affected states, bringing the total to 25. California has the most cases with 24, followed by Pennsylvania with 20 and Idaho with 11.
The infections have hospitalized 52 people, including 14 who developed a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
The specific type of E. coli associated with the outbreak is “toxin-producing,” according to the CDC, which makes people ill within 2 to 8 days of swallowing the germ.
Signs and symptoms of E. coli include diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting. Although most otherwise healthy people recover in one week, some cases of E. coli lead to kidney failure and HUS.