January 9, 2018 — Romaine lettuce is the suspected source of an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened 17 people in the U.S. and 41 people in Canada.
Health Canada issued a health notice in December 2017 after officials identified 41 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections that may be linked to the consumption of romaine lettuce.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also reported 17 similar cases in the United States, warning that the infections appear to be genetically linked to the cases in Canada.
The cases in the U.S. were reported in November and December in the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.
The investigation is still ongoing, according to the CDC:
“Preliminary results show that the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically, meaning the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection.”
E. coli symptoms typically include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloody stools, and fever. The symptoms usually last 5-10 days. In some cases, victims develop a life-threatening type of kidney failure known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).
Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak, but in the U.S., health officials are still interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started, including romaine lettuce as well as other types of leafy greens.
Because the investigation is ongoing, the CDC has not issued any safety warnings and no recalls have been announced. Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak, but they have not linked the illnesses to a particular producer. No recall was issued.
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