Health Canada has just issued a warning to all provinces of Canada to stop consuming romaine lettuce.
The reason: an outbreak of E. coli that has produced dozens of cases of illness in the United States and Canada in provinces like : Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and New Brunswick
“There have been 1800 confirmed cases of E. coli illness investigated in Canada according to the press release.
20 people were hospitalized, and 15 individuals suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a severe complication that can result from an E. coli infection. No deaths have been reported yet.
Pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.
Because the investigation is ongoing and no single brand has been identified as a carrier, the health agency is telling individuals to “avoid eating romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce until more is known about the outbreak.”
E. coli is a bacteria found in the intestines of cattle but can spread to produce that has come into contact with their feces, the press release explains.
Symptoms of an infection in humans include:
- mild fever
- severe stomach cramps
- watery or bloody diarrhea
The current strain is expecially pernicious and is “more likely than other strains to cause severe illness. Pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications,” states Health Canada.
The Public Health Agency recommends washing all lettuce thoroughly under cold, running water until dirt is removed, rather than soaking it in a sink. It also recommends thoroughly cleaning with soap all utensils and surfaces that come in contact with lettuce.