E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce expands to 16 states

YUMA, Ariz. (WTXF/AP) - The Centers for Disease Control says a multistate E. coli outbreak that has sickened nearly three dozen people is linked to lettuce grown in Arizona.

The CDC said Friday that 53 people across 16 states have become ill from chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma.

While no deaths related to the outbreak have been reported, five patients have suffered from kidney failure and 31 have been hospitalized.

"Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick," The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. "If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

The agency has not identified a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand.

But officials advise that consumers, restaurants and retailers should throw out any chopped romaine lettuce that came from the Yuma area.

"Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, confirm with the store or restaurant that is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it," the CDC said.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

Yuma is about 185 miles (298 kilometers) southwest of Phoenix.

Yuma bills itself as the "winter lettuce capital" and hosts an annual Lettuce Festival.