More cases in E. coli outbreak

More cases in E. coli outbreak

There is new information out on the deadly E. coli outbreak in the United States and Canada.

"In collaboration with our association colleagues we'd like to share the following update to last week's communications regarding the E. coli O157:H7 foodborne illness outbreak that has impacted many (of our) members", the produce groups' release said.

Nine people were hospitalized, including one in California that died. Officials thoroughly investigate each outbreak, and they are constantly developing new ways to investigate and solve outbreaks faster.

For its part, in a statement the CDC reported that the investigation continues, but the experts "have not identified a specific type of leafy green vegetables linked to infections in the United States and because of the short shelf life of green leafy vegetables, the CDC does not recommend that residents in the country avoid any particular food at this time".

Which is why, although Canadian officials urged consumers to avoid romaine lettuce, USA health authorities have not yet identified which type of "leafy greens" had led to the spread of the illness.

Public health officials have interviewed 13 people about the foods they ate before they got sick.

However, James E. Rogers, Ph.D., Director of Food Safety Research and Testing at Consumer Reports, cautions that the CDC's position on this could give consumers a false sense of security. Five, or 56%, of nine ill persons said they ate romaine lettuce. In the United States, there are 24 confirmed victims across 15 states.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), a microbiologist, affirmed DeLauro's sentiments in a statement to Consumer Reports: "The delay in CDC or FDA providing updated information to consumers is very disappointing.Timely information is critical to avoid potentially contaminated foods and I call on FDA to take all necessary steps to protect public health". However, the CDC noted that people who got sick during this outbreak "were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce".

Symptoms of E. coli typically begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria. "For instance, if the equipment at a processing plant is contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, new product could become a source of further infections". Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli infection.

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