More cases in E. coli outbreak

U.S. Officials Not Ready to Blame E. coli Outbreak on Lettuce

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Canadian health officials say romaine lettuce is to blame but the CDC still isn't sure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement there was "likely" no longer a concern. Since CDC's initial media report on the outbreak on December 28, seven more illnesses have been recorded, with the last one starting on December 12, 2017. The CDC said the likely source of the US outbreak appears to be leafy greens, but it is not recommending Americans avoid any particular food at this time. Consumer Reports, however, is still saying to avoid romaine lettuce. 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.

The outbreak, which began in November previous year, has been linked to 24 cases of people infected with E. coli and one death in California. The cause of contamination was not identified.

However, officials indicated the outbreak in the United States may also be over soon. Of 13 interviewed, all 13 said they ate leafy greens. People usually get sick from E. coli O157:H7 three to four days after eating food contaminated with the germ. This percentage was not significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed. Romaine lettuce is mostly eaten raw and washing it or any produce tainted with E. coli will not remove the harmful bacteria.

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CDC and FDA will continue to update the public as more information on the outbreak source is uncovered.

But U.S. health authorities have said it's too early to blame leafy greens as the probe continues.

The outbreak is responsible for 66 infections and two deaths in the two countries. Holidays can increase this delay.

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Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, said it's unclear what steps FDA and CDC are taking in the wake of one of the most serious outbreaks that has occurred in the Trump administration. This investigation is ongoing.

In the US, the CDC did not make any recommendations to the public about avoiding any foods in its initial December 28, 2017, media statement on the outbreak or in today's update.To date, only half of the USA victims have been interviewed by outbreak investigators. But infection with the O157 strain, which produces a shiga toxin, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. This strain of E. coli can not be neutralized by washing, only by cooking, so if you have any, grill it till it's crispy or toss it.

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