The source of the E. coli food poisoning is being investigated by FDA and CDC, along with public health officials in Canada. The latest reports state 41 cases of infection in Canada, 17 of whom needed to be hospitalized and one of whom has died, while one individual has also died in the United States.
US officials have not yet issued recommendations to avoid any particular product because they are still collecting information on the outbreak.
In the past seven weeks, 58 people in the USA and Canada have become ill from a risky strain of E. coli bacteria, likely from eating romaine lettuce.
Most E. coli outbreaks are linked to meat products, but leafy greens are occasionally the cause.
Over the past seven weeks, at least 58 people in the United States and Canada have been sickened and two have died from a risky strain of Escherichia coli (E coli) bacteria, likely from romaine lettuce.
According to the CDC, while the infection is often very mild, it can get quite severe, and in some cases, can be life-threatening.
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Death by lettuce: E. coli outbreak blamed on romaine Two people have died and 58 have become ill in the USA and Canada over the past seven weeks from E. coli bacteria likely found in romaine lettuce.
"CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine, " the agency said in its December 28 statement. "This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available".
States where the E. coli had been linked to people falling ill included California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include fever, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and, less commonly, a syndrome that can lead to kidney failure.
The unsafe strains of E. coli may cause illnesses such as diarrhea or even ones outside of the digestive tract and are often transmitted through food or via contact with infected people or animals. Meanwhile, Canadian health authorities are telling consumers not to eat any romaine they may already have, and have pulled the product from store shelves in some regions. But at least one large US organization has taken a preemptive step: Yesterday, Consumer Reports advised Americans to stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and products are removed from store shelves.