Hold the Romaine Lettuce

Hold the Romaine Lettuce

Henrietta Brewer
January 11, 2018

All of the people in the outbreak began feeling ill between November 15 and December 12, about the same time that an E. coli outbreak began in Canada.

In the USA, one victim has died after becoming ill in California, where four cases were reported, the highest number of any state.

"Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale", according to the CDC. The genetic picture of the bacteria that affected people in USA and Canada appeared to be the same said the CDC. In the United States, 17 people are sick.

Last week, the CDC said it was eyeing leafy greens as the possible culprit and, this week, seem to be still looking for the source as the outbreak investigation continues. The infections are all due to E. coli O157:H7 strain of the bacteria that produces the Shiga toxin.

In an update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Canada's Public Health Agency reported an end to the outbreak there.

This is about the same timing of an outbreak of E. coli in Canada, which health officials declared over on Wednesday.

While Florida is not on the list, food safety experts at Consumer Reports highly recommend people stay away from romaine lettuce all together.

General Manager Dale Huss looks over a field of romaine lettuce with drip lines installed in it at Sea Mist Farms in Castroville Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

While the outbreak does appear to be associated with leafy greens, according to CDC and FDA statements released yesterday, USA health officials have not confirmed a specific type, nor have any food recalls been issued.

The CDC suggest paying your doctor a visit if you are going through an episode of severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting or if you have a high fever. "Right now the CDC is saying it could be other leafy greens, but until we have more corroborating evidence, we continue to think it prudent to avoid romaine lettuce for now". Another problem with E. coli infection is that it can contaminate the food at any stage of its production. You can also wash counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued its first announcement about an E coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce on December 11.

The latest authority to speak out on the dangers romaine is posing to the public is the Sudbury and District Health Unit, which serves the most populous metropolitan area in Northern Ontario.

For the record, symptoms of E. coli begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, notes CNN.

Other reports by iNewsToday