US Centers for Disease Control has announced an health alert for the nation this week to avoid Romaine Lettuce that has been associated with an out break of E. Coli toxin in the US and Canada. They have caused the deaths of at least five people and this outbreak is different from the previous outbreak, with only minor different DNA fingerprint for this strain of the illness.
In Ontario and Quebec, Canada 18 cases were reported and the infection on the US are spread to 11 States. The infections cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure and even death. About 32 people were infected in the US, 13 admitted in the hospital with kidney failure reported in one patient and 18 people are suffering in Canada because of this outbreak E. Coli toxins.
US official had given warning to the consumers, retailers as well as restaurants to throw all varieties of romaine lettuce to be discarded immediately. It also advises that salad mixes that contain this type of lettuce including, Caesar Salad, Baby romaine and Spring mix or any such salads should not be prepared or consumed. Most of the romaine lettuce is cultivated in California and some from Mexico region.
E. coli O157: H7 was first recognized as a pathogen in 1982 during the study of an outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis associated with consumption of hamburgers from a chain of fast food restaurant. This produces the toxin namely Shiga Toxin which is mild or severe depending on the body tolerance of this toxin. In all 50 states, the CDC has the capacity to do genomic testing on blood samples from infected patients.
The public is advised to use spinach instead of romaine lettuce especially preparing Thanksgiving meals or food for Holiday gathering.