WASHINGTON -- Nearly 30 states have now reported illnesses linked to a fatal E. coli outbreak, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.
While the death count associated with the outbreak remains at one, the CDC has linked 149 illnesses in 29 states to the outbreak, which has been traced back to lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, area. Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas are the newest states to report illnesses.
Of the 149 people sickened, 102 of them reported eating romaine lettuce in the weeks leading up to their illness, according to the CDC. Those who have fallen ill range in age from 1 to 88, and 65 percent of them are female.
The outbreak has been linked to 64 hospitalizations. Seventeen of those who were hospitalized had developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Several states have seen a high concentration of cases: 30 in California, 11 in Idaho, 10 in Minnesota and 20 in Pennsylvania.
The CDC has not issued a formal recall, but it has urged consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce unless they can confirm that it did not come from Yuma.
If you have romaine lettuce at home and are not sure about where it was grown, the CDC recommends throwing it away immediately. You should also sanitize any shelves or drawers where that romaine lettuce was recently stored. Customers should ask about the origin of any lettuce they encounter in restaurants to ensure it is not included in the advisory.
"If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it," the CDC cautioned.