The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local authorities continue to investigate an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 illnesses. The CDC has announced that the illnesses in the U.S. are likely linked to leafy greens, although health officials have not identified a specific type of leafy green at this time.
Additionally, the CDC announced the outbreak is likely over because 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. At this time, CDC is not recommending that U.S. residents avoid any particular food given the short shelf life of leafy greens and because a specific type of leafy greens has not been identified.
The Public Health Agency of Canada also has declared the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 outbreak in Canada linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over.
Markon is closely following both outbreak investigation and will continue to update members when more information becomes available.
What we know:
A total of 24 STEC O157:H7 infections have been reported from California (4), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Maryland (3), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1)
Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017
Among the 18 ill people for whom CDC has information, nine were hospitalized, including one person in California who died.
Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.
Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) showed that the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in the United States is closely related genetically to the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in Canada
WGS data alone are not sufficient to prove a link; health officials rely on other sources of data, such as interviews from ill people, to support the WGS link
State and local public health officials continue to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started
Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens
To date, 41 people from 5 provinces, Ontario (8), Quebec (14), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13), have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. Coli O157
17 of the ill persons have been hospitalized
One death has been reported
Illnesses occurred in November and December 2017
Individuals who became ill are between the ages of 3 and 85
The majority of the cases (73%) are female
Below please find links to information regarding the ongoing outbreaks and information about E. Coli.
CDC Media Releases
FDA Information about E. coli O157:h7 Outbreak Likely Linked to Leafy Greens
CDC General Information on E. Coli
Government of Canada Public Health Notice - Outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce
Government of Canada Epidemiological information: Outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce
Government of Canada E. coli infection information
Markon is closely following this outbreak investigation and will continue to update members when more information becomes available.
Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.
Food Safety Director
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