The CDC is investigating an outbreak of Escherichia coli that has sickened 17 people in 13 U.S. states, killing at least one.
The agency said it has not identified the source of the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections — or STEC O157:H7 — but preliminary genetic testing showed they are closely related to a similar outbreak in Canada that Canadian health officials have linked to romaine lettuce.
Initial testing shows that an outbreak of E. coli in the United States is related to a similar outbreak in Canada that officials have linked to romaine lettuce.
Canada has reported 41 cases of E. coli 0157 in patients aged between 3 and 85 years, including 17 hospitalizations and one death. Most patients — 73% — have been female.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has advised residents in six eastern provinces to consider eating other types of lettuce. The CDC said it was unable to recommend that U.S. residents avoid a particular food because it has not yet identified a source for the outbreak.
CDC spokeswoman Brittany Behm told Infectious Disease News that five U.S. patients have been hospitalized, including the patient who died. She said two patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening complication of STEC infections that is more common in children aged younger than 5 years and older adults, according to the CDC.
Cases have been reported in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington, with illnesses beginning between Nov. 15 and Dec. 8. – by Gerard Gallagher
Behm works for the CDC.