Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Romaine lettuce linked to E. Coli outbreak in MI

Romaine lettuce linked to E. Coli outbreak in MI

Thorough cooking usually kills foodborne bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, but lettuce is not usually cooked.

The Center for Disease Control is investigating an E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce that has sickened at least 58 people in the USA and Canada. At least one person in Canada has died from the strain. Another patient died of the illness in Canada, where the source of the bacteria was tracked down to the leafy greens.

Other states with reported illnesses are Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

The CDC's report adds that the outbreak began in mid-November and is still being tested to see if the Canadian E. Coli cases are linked to the patients in the U.S. The organization stopped short of issuing a full ban on eating romaine lettuce until it finishes its investigation into the illnesses.

"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".

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

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CDC officials have not confirmed the lettuce as the cause for the outbreak in the US, but local and public health officials are now investigating what victims consumed, including greens and romaine lettuce, during the week their illness began, according to a CDC December press release.

In the USA, 17 cases are being investigated as part of the outbreak. That means people falling ill are more likely to share a common source of infection. The agency says they can not yet link the outbreak of E. Coli to a certain type of food.

Rogers said it's best to assume that any romaine lettuce may be contaminated, even if it's sold in bags and packages.

"Do not buy romaine lettuce and don't use any that you may have in your refrigerator until there is more information on the source of contamination".

This strain of E. coli produces a toxin that, in some cases, can lead to serious illness, kidney problems and even death.

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