Four more people dead from E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

"Most of the newly reported cases are people who became sick two to three weeks ago, still within the window when contaminated romaine was available for sale", said the CDC statement. While they have traced the toxic E. coli strain to the Yuma growing region, they are still looking for the precise source - whether it originated in the water supply, harvesting equipment, a processing plant in the area or somewhere else. Health officials say it's unlikely that any contaminated lettuce is still in circulation due to its 21-day shelf life. At least 89 were hospitalized.

The patients who died were from Arkansas, California, Minnesota and NY. On Friday, health officials said they had learned of four more - one in Arkansas, one in NY, and two in Minnesota. Some said they did not eat romaine lettuce but were in close contact with someone who got sick after eating it. The last reported illness began on May 12.

Almost half of those who became ill had to be hospitalized.

Meanwhile, government authorities are still trying to figure out how and why the outbreak happened.

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After the initial outbreak, the CDC issued a warning on romaine lettuce. Gottlieb is Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Ostroff is FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine. The lettuce was harvested on April 16, 2018 and harvest season is now over.

Symptoms include diarrhea, which can be bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

The CDC has not pinpointed the exact source of the outbreak, but the lettuce appears to have been contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7, a particularly risky strain of the bacteria.

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