Canadian officials said today an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce is over, but US officials are continuing to investigate the deadly foodborne illness outbreak that they believe is linked to leafy greens. Officials in Canada point to romaine lettuce as the E. coli source.
Which is why, although Canadian officials urged consumers to avoid romaine lettuce, US health authorities have not yet identified which type of "leafy greens" had led to the spread of the illness. Since CDC's initial media statement on December 28, seven more illnesses have been added to this investigation.
Although there have been no reported illnesses since December 12 in this country, USA health officials are still looking into which leafy greens may have caused the illnesses and how an animal pathogen found its way into salad products sold nationwide.
Tests revealed that the bacterial strains to blame for at least 66 reported illnesses across both countries were closely genetically related, though that similarity alone was not enough to credit a common cause, officials in the United States said.
California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.
The CDC continues to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started.
Based on that information, officials say that ill persons in this outbreak are not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce.
An FDA spokesperson later confirmed this position to Consumer Reports: "This work is ongoing".
"This is a unsafe strain of E. coli that can cause severe illness and even death", said Halloran's statement. A spokeswoman for the health department Thursday said there was one case in the state linked to the current outbreak involving leafy salad greens. However, an eerily similar outbreak in the U.S.is still being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Because of these reporting delays, more time is needed before CDC can say the outbreak in the United Stated is over.
Romaine lettuce might be the culprit of a recent E. coli outbreak, but the CDC says it can't issue the same kind of advisory unofficially sent out by Consumer Reports. It urged the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce until more is known about the contamination. This condition, which includes symptoms such as extreme fatigue, decreased urination and paleness in the cheeks and under the eyes, typically occurs about seven days after E. coli symptoms first start. 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.
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