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Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak worsens: 98 people now sick

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An outbreak of E. coli food poisoning linked to romaine lettuce has widened and has now made at least 98 people sick, federal health officials said Friday.

More than half have had to be hospitalized because the strain of E. coli causing this outbreak is an especially nasty one, the officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said.

People in 22 states have reported E. coli infections linked to the outbreak, the CDC and FDA said.

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No one has died, but because the bacteria causing the outbreak is so virulent, everyone should avoid eating romaine lettuce unless it’s clearly not from the Yuma, Arizona area, the CDC’s Matt Wise said.

“People should not be eating any type of romaine lettuce unless they know for sure that it is not coming from the Yuma region,” Wise told reporters in a telephone briefing.

E. Coli outbreak cases, state by stateRoque Ruiz / CDC

It’s the worst outbreak of E. coli since 2006 when illnesses traced to spinach killed three and sickened more than 270. A single farm in California was the source of the bacteria, which experts decided may have come from cow manure tracked into the farm by wild pigs or spread by a stream.

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