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By Dominic Garcia

DENVER (CBS4)– A warning from the CDC is urging people to be cautious of eating romaine lettuce after nearly 60 people were infected by E. coli bacteria. Health officials say the illnesses were reported in Canada and 13 states including New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.

According to Consumer Reports, the dangerous bacteria has sent five to the hospital and killed one person in America. Another patient died of the illness in Canada, where the source of the bacteria was tracked down to the leafy greens.

romaine2 E. coli Cases Linked To Romaine Lettuce

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Dr. Michelle Barron is the director of infection control at the University of Colorado Hospital. She says people need to thoroughly wash their produce, whether it’s fruits or veggies.

“Don’t just put them under the sink for a few seconds. I often will put it in a bowl and let it soak so I know the surfaces have been touched by the water. Then, I drain it and repeat that a couple of time,” she told CBS4.

vegetables thinkstock E. coli Cases Linked To Romaine Lettuce

(credit: Thinkstock)

She also says this scare should make you reconsider your shopping practices.

“I think the most horrifying thing to me is when I’m watching stuff at the grocery store in the produce section and they’ll just take a nibble of something. I think you don’t know who’s touched that or if it’s been washed.”

The CDC’s report adds that the outbreak began in mid-November and is still being tested to see if the Canadian E. Coli cases are linked to the patients in the U.S. The organization stopped short of issuing a full ban on eating romaine lettuce until it finishes its investigation into the illnesses.

The illness usually takes one to three days before symptoms begin to show, which include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.

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