Romaine lettuce linked to outbreak of E. coli in 13 states

28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 17 illnesses from E. coli infection had been reported in 13 different states: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

One person has died in the United States and one in Canada, Consumer Reports said.

Five people have been hospitalized in the USA and one has died, the Consumer Reports article said.

"In the United States, state and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started". The CDC said, however, in its release that because it had not yet identified a source of the infections, it was unable to recommend whether USA residents should avoid a particular food. Officials today, however, said 1 death has been reported and 5 people have been hospitalized.

Consumers Union's Jean Halloran said people should get stronger warnings.

An E. coli outbreak has sickened more than a dozen Americans, and it's possible that romaine lettuce could be the source. The CDC is now interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week prior to getting sick. In the US, the infections have occurred in 13 states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state).

But the FDA said there just isn't enough information yet. Health officials assess all of these data to try to find the likely source of the outbreak. On Dec. 24, Sobeys Inc. said it is pulling more than 300 romaine lettuce products from its shelves at stores across the country.

What's the source of this outbreak? Williams said investigators are in the process of reviewing information from shopper cards to look for food source clues and at sequencing information from more isolates to see if they are part of the outbreak.

"Neither the USA nor Canadian health officials have provided information on where the romaine lettuce potentially involved in the illnesses was grown or processed, so for now, Consumer Reports says consumers should assume that any romaine lettuce, even when sold in bags and packages, could possibly be contaminated", it advised. But it's still a good idea to avoid the leafy green for now, whether it's sold fresh or in pre-packaged salad mixes.

Adam Loo, the culinary operations manager for the Murphy Hospitality Group, said he's been monitoring the situation closely since he found out about the outbreak in November.

The strain of bacteria has been identified as shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7, which can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The most unsafe effect is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. 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.

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