May 24, 2024

Romaine Lettuce E. coli O157 Outbreak Ends in Canada Too With No Answers

The romaine lettuce E. coli O157 outbreak that has sickened 197 people in the U.S. and killed 5 has been declared over in Canada by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The CDC and FDA in the United States have not declared an end to this outbreak, but do say that “product is no longer being harvested or distributed from this area and is no longer available in stores or restaurants, due to its 21-day shelf life.”

Romaine Lettuce

In Canada, eight people were sickened with E. coli O157 infections with a similar genetic fingerprint to people sickened in the U.S. there have not been any new illnesses reported to public health officials since late April 2018, so the outbreak notice states, “the Canadian outbreak appears to be over and the outbreak investigation has been closed.”

In the Canadian investigation, all of the eight people sickened said they ate romaine lettuce at home, or in prepared salads purchased at grocery stores, restaurants, and fast food chains before they got sick. Two of those sickened in Canada did eat romaine lettuce in the U.S.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented clients sickened with E. coli O157 infections and HUS, said, “Eating a salad should not cause serious illness.”┬áCall 1-888-377-8900.

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who filed many lawsuits on behalf of clients with E. coli infections, said, “Because traceback is so complicated, this outbreak may never be solved. That is an issue with the farm to fork chain.”

The Canadian government did not name any grower, brand, store, or restaurant that is linked to the contaminated romaine lettuce. There has been no such conclusion on the United States investigation either, other than to say that the lettuce likely came from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

And since there is no way to tell whether or not a food is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, and since lettuce is usually eaten uncooked, the only way to protect yourself against this type of illness is to pay attention to outbreak notices and recalls. However, no recall was issued in this outbreak.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157 infection include painful and severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is watery or bloody, and a mild fever. Symptoms usually begin a few days to a week after ingesting the pathogen. If this infection occurs in a young child or if it is treated with antibiotics, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can develop that can destroy the kidneys and cause strokes and seizures.

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