At least five people in New Jersey were hospitalized after eating romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli bacteria. The latest number brings the total to more than 100 such cases, the state health department confirmed Thursday.
A total of seven people from Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland and Ocean counties have been infected. The potentially deadly strain has so far caused 75,233 pounds of bagged salad products in 22 states to be recalled in last month. So far, 102 people across 23 states have been infected, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Thursday, the New Jersey Department of Health confirmed it was working with the CDC. There have been no reported cases in New York.
Symptoms vary from person to person
Of the confirmed cases, 31 were in Wisconsin, 12 in Ohio, eight in Pennsylvania, seven in New Jersey, six in Colorado, four each in California, Maryland, Texas and Virginia, three each in Arizona, Idaho and Minnesota, two each in Washington and New Mexico and one each in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon and South Dakota.
E. coli, or Escherichia coli, is a bacteria that normally occurs in the environment as well as in the guts of animals and humans, CDC said. Some of its types are pathogenic that can cause illness through exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with animals or other people.
Symptoms usually vary from person to person. In most cases, symptoms appear three to four days after the bacteria is ingested. The symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever. More adverse cases would lead to bloody diarrhea, dehydration and even kidney failure.