CDC Suspected Romaine Lettuce Contamination Over E.Coli Outbreak
It seems that starting out the New Year can be challenging for the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention as the country was plunged in an E.coli outbreak. The agency had reported at least 17 cases of people who got diagnosed and ill with the deadly bacteria in the United States as well as one confirmed death case. The CDC is still investigating the source of the contamination and outbreak which has been unknown until now.
Ian Williams of CDC Had Reported Several Cases of E.Coli Outbreak Across Different States
The first reported cases about the said outbreak were about five people who were hospitalized with two people suffering from a developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, in which both were at risks for kidney failure. The 17 cases of confirmed reports came from the following States:
- California (3)
- Connecticut (3)
- New Hampshire (2)
- Illinois (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Indiana (1)
- New York (1)
- Nebraska (1)
- Ohio (1)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Vermont (1)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (1)
The identified strained bacteria of the said disease are the Escherichia coli O157: H7. This type of bacteria can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Infections under this type of bacteria can be life-threatening. People with a low immune system like the young children and elderly are vulnerable and at risks of these complications. Aside from the United States, Canada had also been infected with E. coli bacteria with some confirmed reports. Based on the comparison study between both countries, the CDC had found a single “fingerprint” which is likely the carrier of the said bacteria.
Crossing the Border, Canada Already reported around 41 Case of E.Coli Bacteria
The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that 41 cases of E. coli outbreak were reported across its five eastern provinces namely:
- Quebec (14)
- Newfoundland and Labrador (13)
- Nova Scotia (1)
- New Brunswick (5)
- Ontario (8)
The ages of the said patients range from 3 to 85, with one of them confirmed as death case while the others were hospitalized. The Canadian agency also noted that ¾ of its patients were females. When asked about their food diary, most of them claimed that they’ve eaten romaine lettuce before they suffered the symptoms of the contamination. While the source of contamination was still not confirmed, but the Canadian agency and the CDC of US are hopeful that this lead will soon wrap-up this case so that they can quarantine the disease and contain it before it escalates into a full-blown pandemic outbreak.
The Canadian agency and the CDC are still looking for the same romaine lettuce that the patients had eaten to gather a sample for a clinical trial, but their efforts were in vain so far. However, both health agencies are still optimistic that they’ll be able to gather sample in order to solve the case.
The CDC Urges the Public to Attend a Checkup with their Physicians
If you’re suspecting you’re infected with the E. Coli bacteria, we recommend you to schedule a checkup with your attending physician for a test in order to determine your health status. If you have been in contact or have eaten romaine lettuce in the past few days, we also recommend you to gather a sample of the said food and have your physician test it. The health professionals are also urging the public to always wash your hands and observe proper hygiene to prevent getting infected with the said bacteria.
You also need to be aware that E. coli bacteria carry different and diverse strains which can be found in the environment. While most of them are generally harmless, there are a handful of bacteria types who are harmful to the humans. In order to avoid getting infected with harmful E. coli bacteria, you need to cook the meat at the proper temperature. As much as possible, avoid drinking raw milk as well as unprocessed and unpasteurized dairy products. Also, don’t attempt to drink water from swimming, no matter how fresh they seem. If you’re still willing to eat romaine lettuce and other leafy greens, make sure to wash them properly and make sure to cook it thoroughly (avoid eating raw veggies yet) to avoid contamination and to ensure that it’s safe for your consumption.
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