Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce still unclear

Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce still unclear

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued warnings about the outbreak.

Consumer Reports is recommending that Americans avoid all romaine lettuce for now, but other food safety experts say it may be too soon to blame romaine for the outbreak.

In addition to NY, the affected states are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington state. The organizations say the bacteria is "closely related genetically" to the Canadian strain that's been reported 41 times in five provinces.

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In the USA, five people have been hospitalized and one has died.

The CDC, which last reported on the outbreak on December 28, said 17 people were sick in the 13 states dating back to November. Officials in Canada have identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in that country, but USA officials say they still don't have enough information to name a food source involved in the American outbreak. Infections with shiga-producing E. coli can be life-threatening, especially for young children, the elderly, and people with medical conditions like diabetes. Morrison said until more is known about the source and cause of the contamination, it is best to avoid romaine lettuce.

"People in these groups should be particularly vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce", Rogers said.

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Instead, they are advising consumers in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador "to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce". But does this mean you should skip the romaine on your sandwich or in your salad?

Another possibility is that the E. coli strain causing illness in the United States is actually slightly different from the strain in Canada. Here government health officials are still investigating the outbreaks and have made no suggestions regarding romaine lettuce consumption.

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