Agricultural industry associations in the United States reported that public health authorities in Canada declared an end to the outbreak of infections caused by E. coli O157: H7 bacteria, associated with consumption of romaine lettuce, while in the U.S. the Centers for Control and Prevention of Diseases (CDC) continue to investigate, but do not consider that there is a risk for consuming green leafy vegetables.
A pair of fatal E. coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens in the United States and Canada appear to be over, health experts said on Wednesday. Although the likely source of the US outbreak appears to be leafy greens, officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are seven new E. coli cases in the U.S.in this ongoing outbreak.
The last reported illness started on 12 December. Whole genome sequencing indicates that the two outbreak strains in the United States and Canada are closely related genetically. Of 13 interviewed, all 13 said they ate leafy greens.
Healthy adults usually recover within a week, but young children and older adults have an increased risk of developing a life-threatening type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Last week, the CDC said it was eyeing leafy greens as the possible culprit and, this week, seem to be still looking for the source as the outbreak investigation continues.
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CDC is not recommending that US residents avoid any particular food given the short shelf life of leafy greens and because a specific type of leafy greens has not been identified.
In a news release on Wednesday, Jan. 10, the agency says it is no longer advising people in the five affected provinces - Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia - to consider eating other types of lettuce, instead of romaine.
Shanik announced cabbage and lettuce are once again safe to eat. In the United States, there are 24 confirmed victims across 15 states.
Although the most recent illness started on December 12, there is a delay between when someone gets sick and when the illness is reported to CDC. If you are concerned that you have an E. coli infection, talk to your healthcare provider. But infection with the O157 strain, which produces a shiga toxin, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
For the record, symptoms of E. coli begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, notes CNN. You can also wash counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods. She said it's still unclear whether FDA is intensifying testing of USA and imported products in the wake of Canada's findings. Don't buy romaine lettuce and don't use any still be at home until there is more information on the source of contamination.