CDC: E. coli infections from romaine lettuce are spreading

The Centers for Disease Control has updated its report on E. coli infections resulting from romaine lettuce, revealing that illnesses have appeared in new states and include additional hospitalizations. According to the update, five more states have reported cases of E. coli, and a total of nine more hospitalizations have been reported. Of those hospitalizations, two resulted in kidney failure.

READ: CDC warns of multi-state E. coli outbreak

The CDC detailed the issue earlier this week, explaining at the time that romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 had caused illnesses in 11 states. Now, less than a week later, the agency has updated that number to 16 states, adding the following to the list: California, Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Louisiana.

Since the previous report published on April 13, the CDC says a total of 18 additional people have become ill from consuming the lettuce, bringing the total to 53. Two of those individuals developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. The CDC stated on April 13 that three individuals had experienced kidney failure, bringing the total to five.

As reported last Friday, current investigations indicate the contaminated romaine lettuce originated from Yuma, Arizona, though the CDC still has not identified a common supplier, grower, brand, or distributor. Consumers are warned to throw away any chopped romaine lettuce products they have purchased, including pre-packaged foods and bagged salads.

Officials are interviewing ill individuals as part of an investigation to determine the source of the illness. So far, the probe has revealed that 95-percent of the interviewed patients consumed romaine lettuce in salads about a week before symptoms appeared. Most of those salads came from restaurants that used bagged products; whole heads of romaine lettuce haven't been implicated at this point.

In recent days, the CDC has also warned about a salmonella outbreak resulting from Rose Acre Farms eggs and a different salmonella outbreak linked to dried coconut.