E.coli Outbreak Threat Likely Over Soon — CDC

Romaine lettuce was linked to 42 illnesses and

The CDC says there are 7 new cases of E. coli in an outbreak that's struck 15 states - including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

All 13 of the people interviewed by American public health officials said they'd eaten "leafy greens" in the week before they felt sick; five said they'd eaten romaine lettuce.

On Tuesday, prominent Lakewood pediatrician Dr. Reuven Shanik warned the public against eating all kinds of lettuce and cabbage until "until they can figure it out".

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued its first announcement about an E coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce on December 11. TLS reports this development came after a phone conversation between Dr. Shanik and another prominent doctor who specializes in infectious diseases, as well as an update from the CDC.

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The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are trying to pinpoint the exact region of where the strain of E.coli is coming from and if romaine lettuce is the source. Alarmingly, the cases confirmed by CDC in the USA happened between November 15 and December 12.

Canada and the USA reported 58 infections, 22 hospitalizations and two deaths from the current outbreak, but only Canada has warned their consumers of a possible food vehicle - romaine lettuce.

However, officials added: "Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale".

An FDA spokesperson told Consumer Reports: "This work is ongoing". "We think it's important to avoid eating romaine until the cause of this outbreak is determined", read a statement on Wednesday. Across Canada and 15 states in the USA, including IL, dozens have been infected and two people have died.

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The states where E. coli has been reported are: 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 and the Centers of Disease Control reported in the past seven weeks that 58 people have become ill, with five hospitalized and two who died, from E. coli bacteria likely from eating raw romaine lettuce. There is 1 reported death.

Right now the CDC says it doesn't want to act too soon and blame one particular crop because if they're wrong that could leave people at risk in case it turns out something else is spreading the bacteria. Neither country had identified the source of the contaminations, and to where or how the affected produce was distributed. The outbreak has now been identified in 15 states. Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens. However, the CDC noted that people who got sick during this outbreak "were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce". Based on this information, US health officials concluded that ill people in this outbreak were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce. Currently, no common supplier, distributor, or retailer of leafy greens has been identified as a possible source of the outbreak. Holidays can increase this delay. This investigation is ongoing.

Still, the agency said it does not have enough information to recommend people in the USA avoid a particular food. But infection with the O157 strain, which produces a shiga toxin, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

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Symptoms of E.coli usually start within three to 10 days after consumption. This strain of E. coli can not be neutralized by washing, only by cooking, so if you have any, grill it till it's crispy or toss it. People should also thoroughly wash fresh produce.

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