Romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak infects two Saskatchewan residents

Romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak infects two Saskatchewan residents

Romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak infects two Saskatchewan residents

On May 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared its latest update on the romaine lettuce outbreak, adding additional victims and states to the existing list.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), two of the six individuals who became sick reported travelling to the U.S. before falling ill.

The E.coli outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., said CDC officials.

Health officials have tied the outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, which provides most of the romaine sold in the USA during the winter.

Chapman pointed out that the outbreak's connection to romaine lettuce from Yuma was first announced on April 13.

"This advice includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce", the CDC said.

But why are we still seeing cases, even though production of romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona - where the contaminated lettuce appears to have originated - has ceased? Start by discarding the outer leaves.

- Run the lettuce under cool running water before you prepare a salad and consume it.

With all of this, there still not has been a recall issued as the CDC and FDA warn against eating any romaine lettuce. Then the growing region for the produce switches to California, said Keith Warriner, a professor of food science at the University of Guelph. Don't soak lettuce in the sink, because there may be bacteria in the sink that can contaminate it. Store lettuce in the fridge up to 7 days.

"This is a higher hospitalization rate than usual for E. coli O157:H7 infections, which is usually around 30 percent", the agency said. That's when their illness is linked to the outbreak, Warriner said. Three individuals became sick in Canada.

At least 64 people have been hospitalized, including 17 who have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

In the absence of more government regulations after the 2006 spinach outbreak, state-specific industry groups such as the California Leafy Green Handler Marketing Agreement and a partner one in Arizona have stepped up.

The FDA's Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network says it is now investigating dozens of other fields as potential sources of the tainted chopped Romaine lettuce. It's still uncertain where in the supply chain the contamination happened.

Federal and state scientists are working to collect and analyze hundreds of records to trace the source of the contaminated romaine lettuce.

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