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1st death reported in E. coli outbreak linked to Arizona lettuce

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Federal health officials on Wednesday confirmed the first death caused by an outbreak of food poisoning linked to romaine lettuce grown in Arizona.

California reported the E. coli-related death, but they did not provide other details.

The government said it had reports of 121 people who got sick in 25 states. At least 52 people had been hospitalized, including 14 with kidney failure, which is an unusually high number of hospitalizations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the numbers before announcing the fatality.

Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah were added to the states with reported cases. There were 24 reported cases in California, officials there said.

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.

Less than a week ago, no deaths had been reported.

Those infected ranged in age from 1 to 88 and more than half of were female. At least forty-two people had been hospitalized, including nine battling kidney failure.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting, the federal agency said.

The CDC recommended shoppers not buy romaine lettuce if they were unsure where it had been grown.

Public health officials in the affected states were investigating the outbreak.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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