That brings the total number of cases involving E. coli to 66 in the recent outbreak in the USA and Canada. Among the 18 ill people for whom CDC has information, nine were hospitalized, including one person in California who died.
Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017.
In an interview with NBC News, a CDC official said that even though Canadian authorities have linked the outbreak to romaine, USA food safety workers haven't been able to identify a single food consumed by everyone affected. Consumer Reports advised people to continue to avoid romaine lettuce.
"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", according to today's media statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC should conduct the investigation while providing timely public information, she recommended.
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. Because CDC has not identified a specific type of leafy greens linked to the USA infections, and because of the short shelf life of leafy greens, CDC is not recommending that US residents avoid any particular food at this time. Canadian health officials previously identified romaine lettuce as the cause of the outbreak there.
"Without knowing exactly what caused this outbreak, we risk seeing a new batch of tainted product come onto the market", he said. In the United States, there are 24 confirmed victims across 15 states. The strain of E. coli involved in this outbreak, O157:H7, is particularly serious. You can also wash counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods.
On Wednesday, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced it was no longer advising the public against eating romaine lettuce. There has been one death in California, which was previously reported as connected to the outbreak.
In the meantime, we'll keep you posted on CDC and the FDAs findings of where the source of the latest E.coli outbreak is coming from. Lettuce can also be contaminated by bacteria during and after harvest.
For the record, symptoms of E. coli begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, notes CNN.
You've probably heard by now that 41 people in Canada have contracted E. coli from what possibly could have been contaminated romaine lettuce.