Thursday, 19 July, 2018

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce apparently over, Ottawa says

DeLauro pushes CDC director for answers on E. coli outbreak Hold the Romaine Lettuce
Isabel Fisher | 12 January, 2018, 06:16

Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of illness there, but where the greens came from or where they were contaminated is unknown. Consumer Reports recommended that consumers avoid romaine lettuce until the outbreak cause was determined.

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

However, James E. Rogers, Ph.D., Director of Food Safety Research and Testing at Consumer Reports, cautions that the CDC's position on this could give consumers a false sense of security.

About five to 10 percent of people infected with E. coli, 0157:H7, may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition which affects the blood vessels and can lead to kidney failure and death.

A pair of fatal E. coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens in the United States and Canada appear to be over, health experts said on Wednesday.


Although the most recent illness started on December 12, there is a delay between when someone gets sick and when the illness is reported to CDC. Consumer Reports advised people to continue to avoid romaine lettuce. Neither the CDC nor Canadian health officials have provided any information on where the romaine lettuce potentially involved in the illnesses was grown or processed, so for now, consumers should assume that any romaine lettuce, even when sold in bags and packages, could possibly be contaminated, Rogers said. She said it's still unclear whether FDA is intensifying testing of US and imported products in the wake of Canada's findings. For STEC O157:H7 infections, this period can be two to three weeks.

"The FDA's outbreak investigation team is working with CDC and state and local officials to determine what ill people ate, where they bought it, and the distribution chain - all with the goal of reaching where these foods were produced, to see if there's any common food or point where the food might have become contaminated". Holidays can increase this delay.

"There is not enough epidemiologic evidence at this time to indicate a specific source of the illnesses in the United States", Brittany Behm, a CDC representative, said.

To protect against E. coli infection, health officials say people should thoroughly wash their hands, as well as counters, cutting boards and utensils.

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.

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