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E. coli outbreak continues to grow, CDC says to throw out all romaine lettuce

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CNN — The number of people hospitalized due to a multistate E. coli outbreak linked to chopped romaine lettuce continues to grow, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

About 53 people have been reported sickened in 16 states since March 13, the CDC said. Thirty-one of those ill have been hospitalized. Five of them developed a type of kidney failure associated with an E. coli illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be life-threatening.

No deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

Health officials had issued a warning for residents and restaurants about chopped romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona, area last week. On Friday, the CDC issued another warning, telling people to throw their romaine lettuce away because it’s hard to tell where it was produced at.

The higher number of E. coli cases have been in Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Jersey and Montana.

The outbreak has also reached consumers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.

Symptoms of E. coli typically begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, although most patients become ill three or four days after consumption. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover in five to seven days. Those most at risk for E. coli illness include the very young, the very old and individuals with compromised immune systems.

“Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten,” the CDC said in a statement.

Pennsylvania-based Fresh Foods Manufacturing Co. issued a voluntary recall of ready-to-eat salads in clear plastic containers due to the potential for contamination. The 8,757 pounds of recalled salads were produced between April 9 and April 12 and sold in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. They have the establishment number P-40211 inside the USDA inspection mark on the package. Due to the four-day shelf life, the products should no longer be available in stores.