May 26, 2024

Health Canada Says E. coli O157 Outbreak In That Country Linked to Romaine Lettuce Over

Health Canada says that the E. coli O157 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce in that country is over. At least 42 people in 5 provinces were sickened in this outbreak.

E. coli O157:H7 outbreak

As of January 10, 2018, there were 42 cases of illness in this E. coli O157 outbreak that were reported in five eastern provinces: Ontario (8), Quebec (15), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and early December 2017. Seventeen individuals were hospitalized because their illnesses were so severe. One person died in this E. coli O157 outbreak. Patients were between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (74%) were female.

Most of those who were sickened said they ate romaine lettuce the week before they got sick. Patients ate that leafy green at home, in restaurants, at fast food chains, and in prepared salads that were purchased at grocery stores. All food samples tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were negative. No source of the contamination was identified.

There is a similar outbreak in the United States that is ongoing; in that outbreak, the pathogen responsible has been identified as E. coli O157:H7. There are at least 24 people sick in 15 states. Two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and one person in California died.

That outbreak was announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on December 28, 2017. The outbreak was updated on January 10, 2018 after pressure from congress. The outbreak in the U.S. has not been especially tied to romaine lettuce, although Consumer Reports has and still does recommend that consumers avoid that green for now.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157 infection include painful and severe stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is bloody and watery, and a mild fever. If the patient is young, or if the infection is improperly treated with antibiotics, a complication called HUS can develop. Symptoms of HUS include no urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, and a pale skin. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should be taken to a doctor as soon as possible.

To help protect yourself and reduce the risk of food poisoning from leafy greens, it’s important to handle produce properly. Unwashed lettuce should be prepared using these steps. Discard the butter leaves. Wash it under fresh, cool running water. Keep rinsing the lettuce until all dirt is gone. Do not soak lettuce in the sink; bacteria in the sink can contaminate it. Only store lettuce up to seven days. Ready to eat lettuce products do not need to be washed again, but make sure you refrigerate them and use them before the expiration date printed on the package.

The noted Pritzker Hageman law firm helps people sickened by food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and other pathogenic bacteria get answers, compensation and justice. We protect our client’s legal rights. Our lawyers represent clients, families of children in personal injury lawsuits, and wrongful death lawsuits against growers, grocery stores, food producers and processors, shippers, dairies, restaurants, retailers, and schools. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) because of an E. coli infection.

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