January 23, 2018

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CDC Investigators Searching For Source Of E. Coli-Contaminated Lettuce

05 January 2018

"Even though we can't say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the USA, a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that romaine lettuce is nearly always consumed raw", according to James Rogers, Ph.D, who is CR's director of food safety and research. In the US, the infections have occurred in 13 states including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington state.

These past two months, several people have been hospitalized, and two have died, after suffering an E.Coli infection most likely linked to Romain Lettuce. There has also been one death reported in Canada. The CDC said, however, in its release that because it had not yet identified a source of the infections, it was unable to recommend whether US residents should avoid a particular food.

Whole-genome sequencing comparing the isolates from Canada and the United States has shown that the same strain is involved and that a common food source probably the source, Williams said.

Most of the patients reported eating romaine lettuce, according to Canadian health officials.

"There is not enough epidemiologic evidence at this time to indicate a specific source of the illnesses in the United States", Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman Brittany Behm told Consumer Reports. Canadian officials said the illnesses were reported in Canada in November and early December of 2017.

USA health officials believe romaine lettuce could be the biggest culprit because the vegetable was behind a similar outbreak in Canada.

"People usually get sick from E. coli O157:H7 three to four days after eating food contaminated with the germ".

Young children, elderly people, and those with a weakened immune system from a condition such as cancer or diabetes face the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill from E. coli.

Grocery chain Bashas' spokesperson Ashley Shick said none of the store's romaine suppliers, which are from Yuma and California, were connected to the CDC's ongoing investigation.

An E. coli outbreak has sickened more than a dozen Americans, and it's possible that romaine lettuce could be the source.

CDC Investigators Searching For Source Of E. Coli-Contaminated Lettuce