Sunday, 21 January, 2018

DeLauro pushes CDC director for answers on E. coli outbreak

Although the outbreak appears to be over the Public Health Agency of Canada says Canadians should 'always follow safe food handling tips for preparing lettuce.' DeLauro pushes CDC director for answers on E. coli outbreak
Marty Perkins | 12 January, 2018, 06:20

You've probably heard by now that 41 people in Canada have contracted E. coli from what possibly could have been contaminated romaine lettuce. Consumer Reports recommended that consumers avoid romaine lettuce until the outbreak cause was determined.

The case count by state is: California (4), CT (2), IL (1), IN (2), Maryland (3), MI (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), NY (1), OH (1), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). Consumer Reports still warned against eating romaine.

Healthy adults usually recover within a week, but young children and older adults have an increased risk of developing a life-threatening type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

This does not sit well with DeLauro who asked Fitzgerald a series of questions, such as when the first E. coli infection was reported in the USA, when CDC began investigating the outbreak, and what is "CDC's justification for waiting nearly a month and a half before publicly confirming the outbreak?" Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017. Five (56%) of nine ill people specifically reported eating romaine lettuce. Currently, no common supplier, distributor, or retailer of leafy greens has been identified as a possible source of the outbreak. CDC continues to work with regulatory partners in several states, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to identify the source. The five hospitalized are in the United States with the one death in the USA and one in Canada. The outbreak in late 2017 sickened almost 20 people in the US and 40 in Canada.




"There is not enough epidemiologic evidence at this time to indicate a specific source of the illnesses in the United States", Brittany Behm, a CDC representative, said.

Since it's better to be safe than sorry, many are advising that you should chuck any romaine lettuce you have lurking in the back of the fridge. For STEC O157:H7 infections, this period can be two to three weeks.

For the record, symptoms of E. coli begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, notes CNN.

Outbreaks of toxin-producing E. coli are more typically linked to beef as the bacteria can get into the meat during slaughter and processing, especially ground beef, but infections from produce are not unheard of. It's also important to avoid preparing food when you are sick, particularly if you are sick with diarrhea.

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