Romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak infects two Saskatchewan residents

Romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak infects two Saskatchewan residents

"Of the 112 people interviewed, 102 (91%) reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started".

Federal health officials say six Canadians have fallen ill due to E. Coli in romaine lettuce similar to the strain that has caused almost 150 illnesses in the United States.

There are now 149 cases of persons falling ill after consuming romaine lettuce, with a total of 29 states affected.

Besides the death recorded in California, 17 patients have developed a risky form of kidney failure, the agency said.

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

Last week, the CDC announced that one person had died from the E. coli outbreak; the death, in California, was the first known fatality from this outbreak.

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That said, so far only one Canadian was hospitalized and thankfully no deaths havebeen reported in Canada.

The illnesses were reported in four provinces, including two cases in Saskatchewan.

"Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department", the agency said. However, the CDC warned that due to a lag in reporting, any illness that occurred in the past two to three weeks may not have been counted in this update. By the end of May, it's possible that more cases will be recorded. With supportive treatment, most people recover in a matter of five to seven days.

"Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli O157 infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli O157 infection is ruled out", the CDC says.

The outbreak has been linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona area, which provides most of the romaine sold in the United States during winter months.

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.

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