Canadians sickened by E. coli linked to romaine lettuce

Aubrey Yates
May 13, 2018

Five Georgians are now added to the list of people sickened by a multi-state E. coli outbreak, according to the Centers For Disease Control or CDC. It's unclear if new illness are still occurring.

Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection, and report your illness to your local health department.

Since the CDC's last update on May 2, the outbreak has spread to four new states including Minnesota, Florida, North Dakota and Texas. The bacteria recently killed one person in California, marking the first fatality tied to the outbreak.

The notice states that the likely source of the outbreak in Canada is romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing regions in the U.S.

View a map of states affected with the number of reported cases for each here. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

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The people who have gotten sick range in age from 1 to 88 years old. Seventeen have developed severe kidney failure, and one person in California has died. The reputation of romaine lettuce is at stake until the E. coli outbreak is solved - and maybe longer - and it isn't easy to win back customer loyalty once it's shaken. The CDC advises anyone with these symptoms to seek medical attention as E. coli infection is typically diagnosed via a stool sample.

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.

However, the agency confirmed that no other types of lettuce or any other growing region for romaine are involved in the outbreak.

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.

Jaron Barnes, produce department manager at the Walmart in Rexburg, said that E. coli is something they take very seriously and they have done everything they can to prevent customers from consuming any contaminated lettuce.

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