Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Romaine Lettuce Is Being Linked to E. Coli Outbreaks in 13 States

Romaine Lettuce Is Being Linked to E. Coli Outbreaks in 13 States

In Canada, 17 individuals were hospitalized and one has died. This is the same type of E. coli that is responsible for the current outbreak in the United States and Canada. 28 announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17 individuals from 13 states, including California, Illinois, Connecticut, Indiana, Washington, New Hampshire, New York, and Nebraska, have fallen ill from the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria between November 15 to December 8, 2017.

Fifty-nine people across the U.S. and Canada have been hit with a strain of E. coli bacteria over the past seven weeks, and in most cases, it's been traced back to the leafy green. In the USA, the infections have been confirmed in 13 states - California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

Authorities state that the cause of this E.coli outbreak is romaine lettuce. One case has been reported in MI and is among the 17 cases reported in other states.

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.

However, there are certain strains of E. coli that can cause illnesses such as the Shiga toxin-producing strain of E. coli, which is often heard of in relation to food-related outbreaks.

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While CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common that was ingested by those who were taken ill, including leafy greens and romaine, the Public Health Agency of Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the food poisoning outbreak in Canada.

Arizona and California produce about 90 percent of the lettuce and other leafy greens grown in the United States.

However, on its website, it said, "We have not identified a source of the infections, thus is unable to recommend whether U.S. residents should avoid a particular food".

Canadian health authorities identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada, but the investigation in the U.S.is still ongoing. Elderly individuals and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of getting sick if infected with E. coli, an intestinal bacteria found in animal or human feces.

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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