Five dead, 200 sick in worst E. coli outbreak since 2006: What’s really going on?

Five people have been killed and hundreds have fallen ill due to an E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday.

The deaths occurred in California, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Minnesota and New York, according to the CDC. At least one Ohio case was recorded as part of the outbreak when a 24-year-old woman in Mahoning County was hospitalized. She has since been released, according to the Ohio Department of Public Health.

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Here’s what we know now:

1. What is E. coli?

E. coli is a bacteria found in raw beef, raw milk, some cheeses, raw fruits and vegetables and contaminated water. Most E. coli bacteria is not considered harmful, but one type produces a toxin called which eliminates red blood cells, and causes kidney failure and bloody diarrhea.

2.How many states have been impacted?

Nearly 200 people from about 36 states have been sickened by the outbreak that was first discovered in mid-March, according to The Washington Post.

3. Where did the outbreak orginate from?

Federal investigators have determined the E. coli came from contaminated lettuce grown in Arizona’s Yuma region but they have not been able to link the outbreak to a specific farm.

4. What happened to the people affected by the E. coli outbreak?

Around 26 people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure that can be life-threatening to someone with weakend immune systems such as children and the elderly, according to The Post.

5. When the last E. coli outbreak?

This latest E. coli outbreak marks the worst since 2006, when around 205 people became ill and five died after contracting E. coli from baby spinach, according to The Post.


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