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CDC: 67 people ill as E. coli outbreak spreads to 19 states

By
Darryl Coote
Romaine lettuce heads in stack at grocery store on December 19, 2013. Photo by Jeffery Martin/Wikimedia Commons 
Romaine lettuce heads in stack at grocery store on December 19, 2013. Photo by Jeffery Martin/Wikimedia Commons 

Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the number of people sick with E. coli linked to California-grown romaine lettuce has increased to 67.

The E. coli outbreak has spread to 19 states with 39 people hospitalized, the CDC said. No deaths have been reported but six people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure.

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On Friday, the CDC said 28 of 40 people who had fallen ill in 16 states with E. Coli had been hospitalized.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urging the public not to eat romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, Calif.

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"Romaine lettuce may be voluntarily labeled with a harvest region. If this voluntary label indicates that the romaine lettuce was in 'Salinas' ... do not eat it," the FDA said. "Throw it away or return it to the place of purchase."

The FDA also advised consumers to either discard or return romaine lettuce that does not indicate harvest region or if it was grown indoors.

People first started falling ill from romaine lettuce-linked E. coil on Sept. 24 with the most recent case reported on Nov. 14, according to the CDC.

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The outbreak follows Missa Bay, LLC, last week recalling 75,233 pounds of product that contain lettuce that may be contaminated with E. coli linked to 17 ill people in eight states.

The recall was made after several people in Maryland said they had fallen ill after eating a product from the company that contained romaine lettuce, which preliminary information indicates was harvested in Salinas, the FDA said.

"FDA has deployed investigators to the farms in question to try to determine the source and extent of the contamination," the federal administration said.

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