Coli risk for romaine lettuce returns to low

Coli risk for romaine lettuce returns to low

Consumer Reports recommended that consumers avoid romaine lettuce until the outbreak cause was determined. States with active outbreaks of the bacteria in question are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Consumer Reports still warned against eating romaine.

About five to 10 percent of people infected with E. coli, 0157:H7, may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition which affects the blood vessels and can lead to kidney failure and death.

Still, the agency said it does not have enough information to recommend people in the US avoid a particular food. Illness onsets among reported cases occurred in late Nov & early Dec, so the source of these cases likely is no longer on the market.

"The risk to Canadians has returned to low and the Public Health Agency of Canada is no longer advising individuals in affected provinces to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce", it said in an update published on its website Wednesday evening. This means it's likely that there's a source of the outbreak that both countries shared, according to a press release issued by the agency when the outbreak was first announced in December.

State and local public health officials continue to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency - which is similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration - tested samples of romaine lettuce as part of the outbreak investigation. However, in the United States, state and federal agencies stopped short of making that declaration, stating that the investigation is ongoing.

In Canada, 42 people were sickened and one person died. Ill people also reported eating different types and brands of romaine lettuce.

Although the most recent illness started on December 12, there is a delay between when someone gets sick and when the illness is reported to CDC. The five hospitalized are in the United States with the one death in the US and one in Canada. For STEC O157:H7 infections, this period can be two to three weeks.

The symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include diarrhea that is bloody or watery, and severe stomach and abdominal cramps.

To protect against E. coli infection, health officials say people should thoroughly wash their hands, as well as counters, cutting boards and utensils.

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