Romaine lettuce suspected in deadly E. coli outbreak - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Romaine lettuce suspected in deadly E. coli outbreak

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Federal health officials suspect romaine lettuce and leafy greens caused a deadly E.coli outbreak.

The CDC says 17 people in 13 states got sick and one person died between November 15 and December 8; none in Wisconsin, but one in Illinois.

Five people have been hospitalized, according to Ian Williams, chief of the CDC's Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch.

Two of the hospitalized patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

The source of the infection is still unknown, but officials say washing your lettuce will not protect you, since the bacteria can get inside the lettuce leaf.

"Unfortunately, we have not been able to find common lettuce brands or common stores," Williams said. "The trace-back information is always challenging too, because contamination can happen any place from the farm to the processing facility to the store."

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