More cases reported in deadly US E. coli outbreak; Canada outbreak over

More cases reported in deadly US E. coli outbreak; Canada outbreak over

The Public Health Agency of Canada says the deadly E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over.

But the agency says there have been no reports of illness since December 12.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been conducted on bacterial samples taken from ill persons in the United States.

Canadian health officials linked the outbreak to romaine lettuce.

"The likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill", the CDC said Wednesday. Because leafy greens tend to have a short shelf life-and because the last known illness related to the outbreak occurred last month-it is likely that the contaminated food that's causing illness is no longer available in retail stores or foodservice establishments. Because of this, the CDC is not recommending that USA residents avoid any type of particular food.

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.

By Dec. 28, there were more than 40 cases under investigation in Canada and one reported death.

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

The CDC continues to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started.

"People in these groups should be particularly vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce", Rogers said.

The cases occurring in both the US and Canada are of the same strain and appear to share a , but the CDC said this was not sufficient data to prove a link.

US officials are continuing their investigation. Because of these reporting delays, more time is needed before CDC can say the outbreak in the United Stated is over. If you are concerned that you have an E. coli infection, talk to your healthcare provider.

Symptoms of E.coli usually start within three to 10 days after consumption.

You can protect yourself by washing your hands thoroughly before and after preparing or eating food. But infection with the O157 strain, which produces a shiga toxin, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. People should also thoroughly wash fresh produce. Don't buy romaine lettuce and don't use any still be at home until there is more information on the source of contamination.

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