Saturday, 23 February, 2019


The source of a springtime food poisoning outbreak has been found

Officials are investigating how the outbreak strain of E. coli bacteria got into an irrigation canal Officials are investigating how the outbreak strain of E. coli bacteria got into an irrigation canal
Patty Aguilar | 02 July, 2018, 05:52

Investigators determined that the E. coli came from contaminated romaine lettuce grown in Arizona's Yuma region near the border with Southern California, the Food and Drug Administration has not been able to link the outbreak to one farm, processor or distributor.

Further investigation discovered the outbreak strain of E. coli bacteria in an irrigation canal in the Yuma area, officials said Thursday. "(Whole genome sequencing) showed that the E. Coli O157:H7 found in the canal water is closely related genetically to the E. coli O157:H7 from ill people.

The outbreak was the nation's largest E. coli food poisoning outbreak in more than a decade.

Although the government did not issue a recall, health officials were advising people to avoid eating romaine lettuce.

Things have changed. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says all the tainted romaine should be gone from restaurants and grocery stores and is no longer a risk.

In total, 210 cases were reported from 36 states. The last large E. coli outbreak similar to this one was in 2006 and was caused by spinach grown in California. They did not provide the location of the canal or any other details about it and are still trying to determine how the bacteria got into the canal and if there are other locations with E. coli contamination. Two hundred ten people were sickened in this outbreak. Ninety-six people were hospitalized, 27 developed kidney failure, and five died. The agency received confirmation of the final harvest of romaine from the Yuma region on May 2, and the vegetable has a 21-day shelf life. The vaccine was field-tested near the end of the major 2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, The New York Times reported. "But it's troubling that other strains of this unsafe bacteria were found in environmental samples and that no specific farm was identified".

(PHAC) identified eight ill people in several Canadian provinces infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7.

"The answer to that question is that we don't believe we are seeing more outbreaks", Gottlieb said.

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