DANGERS OF E COLI IN ROMAINE LETTUCE OUTBREAK
There are outbreaks of contaminated romaine lettuce with E. Coli in Ontario, Quebec, and in 11 states of United States of America. This strain E. Coli O157, is more dangerous than others.
That is why the Public Health Agency of Canada and the CDC of United States have told consumers to throw away any romaine lettuce they may already have purchased. Restaurants should not serve it, stores should not sell it, and people should not buy it, no matter where or when the lettuce was grown. It doesn’t matter if it is chopped, whole head or part of a mix.
Symptoms of E. coli O157 infection:
Symptoms usually begin 2 to 5 days after exposure to the bacteria. Sometimes people infected with E. coli O157 have no symptoms at all, but can still pass the bacteria to others.
Severe diarrhea (often bloody)
Most people infected with E. coli O157 do not have a fever or vomiting.
Children under 5 years old and the elderly, E. coli O157 infections can cause a complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). About 2 – 7% of E. coli O157 infections lead to HUS. HUS occurs when the E. coli O157 toxin destroys red blood cells. HUS can lead to kidney failure, neurologic damage, and in some cases, death. Approximately 5 – 10% of HUS cases are fatal.
E. coli is a bacteria that lives naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Raw fruits and vegetables can become contaminated with feces from infected animals in the field by soil, water, animals or improperly composted manure. Lettuce can also be contaminated by bacteria during and after harvest from handling, storing and transporting the produce, including at the grocery store, in the refrigerator, or from counters and cutting boards through cross‑contamination with harmful bacteria from raw meat, poultry or seafood.