The Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak has now killed five people in the United States, including two in Minnesota, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In all, the outbreak has infected 197 people in 35 states, including 12 reported cases in Minnesota. Only California (45) and Pennsylvania (24) have more than Minnesota.
All 12 Minnesota cases have been reported since May 1. It's unclear when exactly the two deaths occurred, but they are new to the report since the last CDC update on May 16.
The outbreak's primary cause is from Romaine lettuce grown on farms in Yuma, Arizona. More from the CDC:
"Most of the people who recently became ill ate romaine lettuce when lettuce from the Yuma growing region was likely still available in stores, restaurants, or in peoples’ homes. Some people who became sick did not report eating romaine lettuce, but had close contact with someone else who got sick from eating romaine lettuce."
It is unlikely that any more of the infected lettuce is still available in people's homes, stores or restaurants.
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Symptoms of this strain of E. coli include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (possibly bloody), vomiting, and low fever. Most people see improvements within 5-7 days, but 5-10 percent of diagnosed cases result in life-threatening kidney failure.
You are advised to contact your doctor if you have diarrhea for three or more days along with a fever, blood in the stool, frequent vomiting and very little urine.