U.S.: CDC investigates multistate E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

December 29 , 2017

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli which Canadian authorities have linked to romaine lettuce. 

At the time of writing 17 illness had been reported from California (3), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1), Vermont (1) and Washington (1).

Illnesses started on dates from Nov. 15 through Dec. 8.

While the Canadian Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has identified the leafy green as the source of the outbreak, the CDC says that in the U.S. health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started.

“CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine,” it said.

“Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether U.S. residents should avoid a particular food. This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available.”

The CDC added whole genome sequencing was being performed on samples of bacteria making people sick in the U.S. to provide information about whether these illnesses are related to those in Canada.

Preliminary results show that the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically, meaning the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection, it said.

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