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Number of Romaine-linked E. coli infections continues to grow

An additional 35 people have reportedly been infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 linked to Romaine lettuce harvested in the Salinas, CA, growing region. The number of people, now 102, was first reported as 40 when the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention issued an advisory Nov. 22 before increasing to 67 last week. A total of 58 hospitalizations have now been reported.

The number of states affected is now 23, and the latest date that one of these patients reports becoming ill was Nov. 18, meaning illness onset dates reported to date are prior to the public warning issued Nov. 22.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence collected to date indicate that romaine lettuce from the Salinas growing region may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and is making people sick.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and public health and regulatory officials from several states are investigating the multi-state outbreak.

As a precaution, the CDC issued an advisory Nov. 22 warning consumers not to eat -- and retailers not to sell -- Romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley. There have been no deaths reported.