Two E. Coli illnesses in Massachusetts have been linked to a national food poisoning outbreak connected to romaine lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday.
Just hours prior, federal health officials said California reported the first death related to the outbreak.
Meanwhile, people who live in the Ocean State are continuing to take precaution.
“If you don’t know where it’s from, don’t consume it,” Ernest Julian, Chief of Rhode Island Department of Health’s Center of Food Protection, told NBC 10 News. “If you’re buying these mixed salads, you need to check to see if romaine is one of those ingredients.”
The government now has reports of more than 120 people who got sick in at least 25 states. More than 50 people have been hospitalized, including 14 with kidney failure, which is an unusually high number of hospitalizations.
“It typically causes bloody diarrhea,” Julian said. “You can have a low fever but it can also shut down the kidneys and even cause death, especially in the young or the elderly.”
Health officials have tied the E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the U.S. during the winter.
“Everyone is on top of the safety so no one is going to get any bad lettuce,” said George Melendez, a local chef.