On Wednesday, the nationwide outbreak of E. coli from contaminated romaine lettuce claimed its first fatality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed one person from California had died, while 121 people had been infected across 25 states.

“Information collected to date indicates that romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick,” the CDC’s latest report on the outbreak reads.

Since a lot of romaine lettuce isn’t labeled to identify the growing region, the CDC is saying it’s best to avoid any romaine you can’t confirm isn’t from Yuma.

Since April 10, when the outbreak was first announced, the number of affected individuals has grown. Nearly half have been hospitalized, 14 of which had kidney failure, a complication that can arise from contracting E. coli. For most people who contract it, they can develop symptoms like diarrhea that can be bloody, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. Similar to most types of food poisoning, people affected will generally recover within a week, but the very young, the very old, and those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to kidney failure.

Check out the CDC’s list of symptoms for this particular strain of E. coli to learn more.

Below is a state by state map of reported cases of E. coli poisoning from romaine lettuce.

E. Coli

Since the CDC’s last update on April 27, 2018, 10 states have been added to the list of E. coli cases. The most recent illnesses the CDC has clocked are traced back to April 21. That’s because it takes a little while to get ill from E. coli — between two to eight days — and once a person realizes it is, in fact, E. coli, it might take a little longer to report the incident to the CDC. That is to say, there could be more cases out there than have been officially accounted for.

E. Coli
The number of reported illnesses does appear to be going down, according to this graph, but more have likely not been reported yet.

Here is a list of all the states that have reported cases of E. coli O157:H7 stemming from romaine lettuce, so far:

  • Alaska: 8
  • Arizona: 8
  • California: 24
  • Colorado: 2
  • Connecticut: 2
  • Georgia: 4
  • Idaho: 11
  • Illinois: 1
  • Kentucky: 1
  • Louisiana: 1
  • Massachusetts: 2
  • Michigan: 4
  • Mississippi: 1
  • Missouri: 1
  • Montana: 8
  • New Jersey: 7
  • New York: 2
  • Ohio: 3
  • Pennsylvania: 20
  • South Dakota: 1
  • Tennessee: 1
  • Utah: 1
  • Virginia: 1
  • Washington: 6
  • Wisconsin: 1

Other than mentioning a region of origin, there hasn’t been any official food recall, and investigators haven’t shed light on how, where, or when any romaine lettuce became infected with E. coli.


Photos via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC