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Death by lettuce: E. coli outbreak blamed on romaine
09 January 2018, 01:39 | Melissa Porter
Romaine lettuce is suspected to be the source of
The CDC is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the outbreak, and is looking at romaine "and other leafy greens", though according to Consumer Reports, the organization has confirmed that the strain of E. coli in the USA is "a virtual genetic match" with the Canadian strain.
"Based on the Canada investigation, romaine lettuce seems like the most likely source there", said Ian Williams, chief of the CDC's Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch, according to.
"Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether USA residents should avoid a particular food".
Romaine lettuce is suspected as a possible source of an E. coli outbreak in the US and Canada. Canada is investigating 41 cases in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador. At least five people have been hospitalized in the US and one person in California has died, the CDC says.
When this type of E. coli, the Shiga toxin-producing identified as E. coli O157:H7, is consumed through contaminated food, individuals usually become sick within one to three days.
Whole genome sequencing was being performed on samples of bacteria making people sick in the United States to give information on whether these illnesses were related to the illnesses in Canada.
The consumer advocacy group called on the FDA and the CDC, asking them to do more to let people know about this surge in E.coli infections.
"Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and HUS than others, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill", the CDC said. Meanwhile, Canadian health authorities are telling consumers not to eat any romaine they may already have, and have pulled the product from store shelves in some regions. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is now trying to find the exact source of romaine lettuce.
While E. coli outbreaks are typically linked to beef, leafy greens, including romaine lettuce, have been the cause of outbreaks in 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to Consumer Reports.
CDC estimated that each year, 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses, 1,28,000 are hospitalised and about 3,000 die.
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