CDC: E.coli Outbreak Threat Likely Over Soon

CDC: E.coli Outbreak Threat Likely Over Soon

An outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce "appears to be over", the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

A pair of fatal E. coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens in the United States and Canada appear to be over, health experts said on Wednesday.

All of the people in the outbreak began feeling ill between November 15 and December 12, about the same time that an E. coli outbreak began in Canada.

The cases in the United States are the same strain as the cases in Canada, and some of them have the same genetic fingerprint.

Produce trade organizations issued a statement that, as of last week, no public health agency had contacted romaine lettuce growers or processors and asked to stop shipping product. However Canadian health officials have identified Romaine lettuce as the type of leafy green that was the likely culprit in their outbreak.

"Because CDC has not identified a specific type of leafy greens linked to the USA infections, and because of the short shelf life of leafy greens, CDC is not recommending that US residents avoid any particular food at this time." the release said. CDC should conduct the investigation while providing timely public information, she recommended.

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In a media statement, Halloran urged the CDC and Canadian officials to share their raw data on the outbreak and called on the FDA to request and review internal bacterial testing data from producers of romaine lettuce in order to pinpoint the source of the E. coli bacteria that has triggered the illnesses. The five hospitalized are in the United States with the one death in the US and one in Canada. Currently, no common supplier, distributor, or retailer of leafy greens has been identified as a possible source of the outbreak.

The CDC continues to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. Most people recover from the illness in five to seven days. The outbreak in late 2017 sickened almost 20 people in the USA and 40 in Canada.

But U.S. health authorities have said it's too early to blame leafy greens as the probe continues. For STEC O157:H7 infections, this period can be two to three weeks. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

You can protect yourself by washing your hands thoroughly before and after preparing or eating food.

There were 42 cases in five eastern provinces: Ontario (eight), Quebec (15), New Brunswick (five), Nova Scotia (one) and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). People should also thoroughly wash fresh produce.

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