November 21, 2017

Canadian E. coli Outbreak Associated with Lettuce Reaches 30 Patients

The Canadian Public Health Agency states that there are now 30 people ill in the E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak associated with shredded lettuce distributed by FreshPoint Inc. The lettuce was sold primarily to KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants and was not distributed to grocery stores.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has traced the lettuce to its origin in California and notified U.S. authorities. Since early January 2013, there has been an investigation into these illnesses. So far, 7 people are sick in New Brunswick, 10 in Nova Scotia, and 13 in Ontario.

The symptoms of an E. coli 0157:H7 infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, which is often watery and may be bloody, vomiting, and a mild fever. About 5 to 10% of those who are sickened will develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can cause kidney failure and death. Other complications of the infection include strokes and seizures. The very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to develop serious complications.

To protect yourself, always wash your hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers, and before preparing food and eating. Cook ground meats to 160 degrees F, avoid raw dairy products, and  wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them. If you are ill, stay home and do not prepare food for others.

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