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Texas case now linked to deadly romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

(KTAB/KRBC) - A deadly E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce is now affecting residents in Texas. 

Wednesday, the Center for Disease Control says that 149 people from 29 states have fallen ill in connection to the lettuce, which was grown in the Yuma region of California. 

Texas is one of four new states to report illnesses during the outbreak. The Texas Department of State Health Services said one Central Texas patient was sick about a month ago from the strain associated with this E. coli outbreak.

64 people have been hospitalized, with 17 developing kidney failure, according to the CDC report, which states one person in California has died. 

The CDC offers the following advice to remain safe during this E. coli outbreak:

  • Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region. Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region. Ask your suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce.
  • Romaine lettuce has a shelf life of several weeks, and contaminated lettuce could still be in homes, stores, and restaurants.
  • If you do not know whether lettuce is romaine, do not eat it. This includes lettuce in a salad mix. Package labels often do not identify growing regions. CDC is advising consumers not to eat or buy romaine lettuce if they do not know where it was grown.
  • This advice includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.
  • People get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli an average of 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting.
  • Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department.
  • E. coli infections also can spread from one person to another through germs on hands. To help prevent infection, wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, and before and after preparing or eating food.
  • This investigation is ongoing and health officials will provide more information as it becomes available.

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