Currently 58 people in the US and Canada have been identified as carriers of a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, 0157:H7. So far, it is believed that one person has died in the US and another has died in Canada.
The Government of Canada has issued a warning from the Public Health Agency of Canada to its citizens to steer clear from eating romaine lettuce that could be infected after they reported 41 cases of illness.
“Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to romaine lettuce has been identified as the source of the outbreak, but the cause of contamination has not been identified,” they wrote.
“Because of the ongoing risk in eastern Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising individuals in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce, until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination.”
Following on from the news of the connection between romaine lettuce and the E. coli bacteria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are presently investigating the cause of the infection in 13 states.
“In the United States, state and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started,” the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated.
“CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine.”
People who have been infected with E. coli may not initially show any symptoms, the Public Health Agency of Canada explained.
However, notable symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, stomach cramps and watery or bloody diarrhoea.
While some individuals may only remain ill for five to 10 days, in other extreme cases people may have to be hospitalised if they exhibit more severe reactions.
Contracting E. coli infection can lead to stroke, kidney failure, seizures and in rare instances, death.
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