May 24, 2024

Officials Still Investigating Deadly E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in U.S. and Canada

Public health officials in the United States and Canada are still investigating the deadly E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has been linked to romaine lettuce in Canada. There is still no word on whether or not the illnesses in the United States have been linked to the leafy green.

E. coli O157:H7 outbreak

As of December 28, 2017, there are 41 cases in Canada and 17 in the United States. One person in Canada has died. While officials in Canada say epidemiologic evidence links the outbreak to romaine lettuce, and that people in the affected provinces should avoid that green, no such recommendation has been made in the United States.

According to news reports, Jungle Jim’s Eatery in Canada has stopped serving romaine lettuce in its 26 locations in that country. Their distributors, Sysco, has stated they are monitoring the situation. Sobeys has pulled products made with romaine lettuce in Canada as well. There has been no official recall of romaine lettuce or any other product associated with this outbreak in either country.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened with E. coli O157:H7 infections and HUS, said, “Even when you recover from this infection, there is still a risk you will develop a serious complication, such as kidney disease, in the future.” Call 1-888-377-8900.

In the United States, the case count by state in this E. coli O157:H7 outbreak is: 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 ranging from November 15 though December 8, 2017. More cases will likely be reported, since it can take weeks from the time a person gets sick to when they are tested and the results are reported to authorities.

Preliminary tests on isolates from patients in both countries shows that the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that is making them sick is closely related genetically. That means it is likely that all of these patients in this E. coli O157:H7 outbreak share a common source of infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still collecting information, including traceback and interviewing ill persons, to try to pinpoint a source of the outbreak.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include painful and severe abdominal and stomach cramps, diarrhea that is likely bloody and/or watery, and a mild fever. People usually start showing symptoms a few days after they eat food contaminated with this pathogenic bacteria. Most people do see a doctor when they contract this infection because symptoms are so serious.

If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. An E. coli O157:H7 infection can be serious and even deadly. While antibiotics are not recommended as treatment since they may increase the odds of serious complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), palliative care can help.

The experienced and noted law firm of Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully helps and represents people hurt by adulterated foods in outbreaks throughout the United States. Its lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of foodborne illness and their families, including the largest verdict in American history for a person harmed by E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The firm also publishes Food Poisoning Bulletin, a respected Google News source for food safety news and information.  Pritzker Hageman lawyers are often interviewed as experts on the topic by major news outlets including CNN, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.


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