The outbreak has been linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona area, which provides most of the romaine sold in the United States during winter months.
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What's more, it can take up to 72 hours for people to show symptoms of E. coli food poisoning, Chapman said, and then it may be several more days before the illness is confirmed as E. coli. With supportive treatment, most people recover in a matter of five to seven days. At this rate, the E. coli outbreak is expected to worsen overtime.
Patients with E. coli may develop a kidney failure type of hemolytic uremic syndrome.
To explain the diverse geographical spread of this outbreak, the FDA said it is still investigating multiple points of origin and distribution.
The CDC regularly publishes any new updates in the outbreak and has advised against buying or eating any romaine lettuce that you can not confirm came from outside the Yuma region. The rest of the cases involve chopped lettuce that did not come from the Yuma farm, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
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Because labels on romaine lettuce do not often list growing regions, it can be hard for a consumer to tell whether the lettuce they are purchasing is part of the outbreak.
Lettuce is the cause of an E.coli outbreak, CDC says.
In addition, some people may have fallen ill after April 13 because they bought romaine before the outbreak was announced and the product was still in their refrigerators, Chapman said.
Complicating matters further is the fact that the vegetables from many different farms is often combined at different points along the supply chain, so tracing the source of the E. coli back to its source becomes incredibly complex.
However, it's unlikely that newly contaminated lettuce tied to this outbreak entered the market after April 13, he added.