32 people, including 13 who have been laid-up have been diseased with the epidemic strain in 11 states as per the CDC reports. Although no deaths have been reported till now, one of the hospitalized patients has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome—a possibly life-threatening form of kidney failure.
The 11 states to be infected with the epidemic strains are Wisconsin, Maryland, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Michigan.
At the same time, the Public Health Agency of Canada has detected an 18-additional people who have been infected with the same strain of E. coli in Quebec and Ontario.
The U.S. FDA which is investigating the outbreak has urged people to throw away any remaining romaine lettuce at home even though if you have eaten some and did not fall sick.
FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb stated on Tuesday that it is maddening that the FDA cannot pin the exact grower from where the outbreak occurred, however, they have zeroed down to romaine lettuce.
He said, “Most of the romaine lettuce being harvested right now is coming from the California region, although there’s some lettuce coming in from Mexico.”
Since no one source or distributor has been ascertained, FDA is cautioning consumers to avoid all brands and types of romaine lettuce. Consumers should not consume any romaine lettuce product that includes “hearts of romaine, salad mixes that contain romaine, such as spring mix and Caesar salad, whole heads of romaine, and boxes and bags of precut lettuce.
Restaurants and retailers should refrain from serving any romaine lettuce until any further update is received about the outbreak.
Infirmities of the current outbreak commenced in October and it is completely unrelated to the other multistate epidemic linked to romaine lettuce this summer.
A similar outbreak was caused by infected romaine lettuce in December an and had affected the U.S. and Canada. He said, “The strain in 2017 is the same as the strain in this fall 2018 outbreak, and the time of year is the same. So, it’s likely associated with the end of season harvest in California.”
“This year, we’re a month earlier, so we’re earlier in the process, earlier in the throes of an outbreak,” Gottlieb said. “So, we’re able to actually get real-time information and conduct effective trace back and isolate what the source is.”
Symptoms of E. coli infection usually begin about three or four days after consuming the contaminated food. The symptoms include bloody or watery diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea as per the CDC. The infected person will most likely recover within 5 to 7 days, while this specific strain of E. coli causes more severe malady.
People of all age groups are at risk of acquiring this Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, as suggested by the U.S. FDA. People with weakened immune systems, adults older than 65 and children under 5 are more prone towards the probability of developing severe illness. Meanwhile, healthy adults and children to are susceptible to the infection.
Gottlieb further states, “That’s why we think it’s critically to get this information out. We understand fully the impact this has, not just on the growers and the distributors but also on consumers — consumers who are preparing meals for the holidays, who have a product now that they’re going to need to discard, maybe food that they’ve already cooked.”