Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Health Canada Warning: Contaminated Lettuce Is Spreading Fatal Illness To Canadians

Health Canada Warning: Contaminated Lettuce Is Spreading Fatal Illness To Canadians

Two Canadians reported traveling into the USA before becoming sick and ingesting romaine lettuce while they were still there.

An outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region has spread to four additional states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday.

The CDC said four more states - Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas - have been hit by the outbreak, bringing the total number of affected states to 29. Of the 164 cases, 64 - or 50 percent - involve hospitalizations, with 17 developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure that could be life-threatening.

The CDC stressed that E. coli illness can be very serious, even deadly.

As previously reported, data indicates that the contaminated romaine lettuce originated from the Yuma, AZ, growing region.

The strain of E. coli behind the outbreak is known as O157:H7, which produces a toxin that causes more severe illness, the CDC said. In Ohio, three illnesses have been linked to the outbreak. "This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed".

Scientists have identified a link to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region. By the end of May, it's possible that more cases will be recorded. These include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Health officials say that they are investigating the issue to get to the bottom of it and to finally determine if the contaminated romaine lettuce is in the Canadian market - if yes, Canadian Food Inspection Agency will recall the product as required.

In fact, the CDC recommends you don't eat romaine lettuce at all, unless you're sure of where it was grown.

Products containing romaine lettuce often don't indicate growing regions, so it could be hard for consumers to tell whether the vegetable they're buying is tainted with bacteria.

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