US health officials said on Wednesday that a death in California linked to a contamination of Roman lettuce by E. coli, which affected a total of 121 people across the United States.
Last month, authorities urged American consumers to discard and to stop eating romaine lettuce unless they were sure that the salads did not come from the Yuma region of southwestern Arizona.
The origin of the contamination by this type of Escherichia coli O157: H7 bacterium has not yet been identified and about twenty health surveys targeting different establishments are in progress.
“Of the 102 people we have information on, 52 were hospitalized (51%), 14 of whom had developed kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome,” explained the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .
The death reported Wednesday is the first reported by the CDC since the start of the lettuce contamination.
No information was published about the deceased “due to patient privacy laws,” California health officials said, reporting 24 cases in their state, out of 121 reported by the CDC.
This is the most severe contamination in the United States since 2006, when more than 200 people got sick due to the contamination of spinach.