Canadians sickened by E. coli linked to romaine lettuce


The E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from Arizona has now sickened 149 people in 29 states, and one person has died, according to a May 9 update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Canadian illnesses of E. coli O157 have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in the US, where 149 people have been infected with an outbreak strain from 29 states, health officials say.

In the US, 149 people in 29 states are sick in this outbreak.

California and Pennsylvania have the most E. coli-related illnesses reported with 30 and 20, respectively. The CDC does warn however that due to delays that sometimes occur with the reporting of these illnesses that the number can be quite a bit higher.

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.

Patients with E. coli may develop a kidney failure type of hemolytic uremic syndrome. Officials may not yet be aware of people who have gotten sick in the last two or three weeks. These symptoms can include painful stomach cramps, vomiting, and in some cases diarrhea.

Most people recover within the first week, according to the CDC, but some infections can be severe.

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Attorney Brendan Flaherty has represented many people sickened with E. coli infections and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Six people in that country are sick with E. coli O57 infections with a "similar genetic fingerprint" to illnesses in the U.S.

Consumers are still being advised not to eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm that it did not come from the Yuma growing region.

The bureau says if it's determined that polluted romaine lettuce is at the Canadian marketplace, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will remember the merchandise as needed.

Health investigators are still trying to identify the exact source of the e-coli outbreak.

Drenzek said the Yuma romaine season ended April 16, with none shipped afterward, so with a three-week shelf life, the risk is waning. Therefore, it is not being sold or served anymore.

Products containing romaine lettuce often don't indicate growing regions, so it could be hard for consumers to tell whether the vegetable they're buying is tainted with bacteria.