Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Coli Outbreak Tied to Leafy Greens Likely Over, CDC Says

Coli Outbreak Tied to Leafy Greens Likely Over, CDC Says

Consumer Reports recently put the public on notice after it learned 59 people in the United States and Canada were infected with E.coli, which they possibly contracted after eating romaine lettuce.

Federal health officials reported seven additional cases of E. coli illness Wednesday in a deadly E. coli outbreak that has now struck 15 U.S. states.

The last reported illness in the United States was on December 12, suggesting that the risk of buying food contaminated in the current outbreak had passed.

"The likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill", the CDC said Wednesday.

But today, the Centers for Disease Control says that a Consumer Reports story last week advising people to avoid romaine lettuce was too quick to pinpoint that particular ingredient as the culprit.

In Canada, 42 people were sickened and one person died.

Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, said it's unclear what steps FDA and CDC are taking in the wake of one of the most serious outbreaks that has occurred in the Trump administration. Because of these reporting delays, more time is needed before CDC can say the outbreak in the United Stated is over. Consumer Reports recommended that consumers avoid romaine lettuce until the outbreak cause was determined.

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Wendy's has not traced any E. coli infections to its customers and hasn't seen any issues with its supply chain, but decided not to take any risks.

In response to the statements made January 10 by USA and Canadian health officials, a coalition of produce industry associations from both countries issued guidance related to the recent outbreak.

This infection can sometimes develop into a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.

"Whole genome sequencing is being performed on samples of bacteria making people sick in the United States to give us information about whether these illnesses are related to the illnesses in Canada", the CDC said in a statement. Canada pointed to romaine lettuce as the source of its outbreak.

People usually get sick from this particular strain of E. coli three to four days after eating contaminated food. It's also important to avoid preparing food when you are sick, particularly if you are sick with diarrhea.

In the meantime, we'll keep you posted on CDC and the FDAs findings of where the source of the latest E.coli outbreak is coming from. While the lettuce that may have caused the illnesses is no longer on the market, we do not know where the products were sold, or where the leafy green was grown, harvested, or processed.

For the record, symptoms of E. coli begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, notes CNN. Romaine lettuce is mostly eaten raw and washing it or any produce tainted with E. coli will not remove the harmful bacteria.

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