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E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce Claims Its First Fatality

The E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce has turned fatal with one death reported in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The CDC also said 23 more people had been sickened since its last update on April 27, bringing the total number of cases to 121 across 25 states, with 52 people hospitalized.

The outbreak has been linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., and the CDC is warning consumers not to eat or buy romaine lettuce unless they can confirm it is not from that region. The warning applies to whole heads and hearts of romaine, as well as chopped romaine, baby romaine, and salads containing romaine lettuce. Restaurants and retailers are also being advised to ask their suppliers about where their lettuce comes from.

People typically get sick from E. coli an average of three to four days after ingesting the bacteria, according to the CDC. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. While most people recover within a week, others can develop more severe symptoms — 14 of those hospitalized due to the current outbreak developed a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, the CDC said.