CDC investigating possible romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 17 people across 13 states, including Nebraska.

Although officials have not yet found the source of the outbreak, preliminary test show similarities to an ongoing outbreak in Canada linked to romaine lettuce that has sickened 41 with 1 death.

In a press release sent to journalists, the CDC stated, “this investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available.”

The information that they do have is that outbreak has an onset range from November 15 – December 8 and affects the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

Federal and state officials are currently interviewing those who became ill to pinpoint the source of the outbreak. Until then the CDC is unable to recommend that US residents avoid a particular food.

Symptoms of E. coli include:

· Severe abdominal cramping

· Loss of appetite

· Diarrhea (often bloody)

· Fatigue

· Fever

If you start to experience symptoms, seek medical attention and contact your local health department immediately.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued its first announcement about an E coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce on Dec 11. In a Dec 21 update, it said it is so far investigating 41 cases from five provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. It urged the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce until more is known about the contamination.