Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

More cases reported in deadly US E. coli outbreak; Canada outbreak over

More cases reported in deadly US E. coli outbreak; Canada outbreak over

Yesterday, the Public Health Agency of Canada declared that the recent Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over. Although the likely source of the USA outbreak appears to be leafy greens, officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became sick.

That brings the total number of cases involving E. coli to 66 in the recent outbreak in the USA and Canada.

"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", the agency said.

The CDC did whole genome sequencing on the bacteria that caused the outbreak and found they were genetically similar to those implicated in a similar outbreak in Canada. Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli infection.

The cases occurring in both the US and Canada are of the same strain and appear to share a , but the CDC said this was not sufficient data to prove a link.

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The CDC, for its part, says that it hasn't yet identified the type of leafy green involved and that it's investigation is continuing.

"The risk to Canadians has returned to low and the Public Health Agency of Canada is no longer advising individuals in affected provinces to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce", it said in an update published on its website Wednesday evening. The outbreak has now been identified in 15 states.

Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, said it's unclear what steps FDA and CDC are taking in the wake of one of the most serious outbreaks that has occurred in the Trump administration. If you are concerned that you have an E. coli infection, talk to your healthcare provider.

Most people develop diarrhea (often bloody) and stomach cramps.

Symptoms of E.coli usually start within three to 10 days after consumption. You can also wash counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods. There has been one death in California, which was previously reported as connected to the outbreak. Don't buy romaine lettuce and don't use any still be at home until there is more information on the source of contamination.

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