Health Canada has issued a warning in Ontario and Quebec regarding a risk of E. coli infections associated with eating romaine lettuce.
The warning, which also includes some places in the United States, also notes the recent illnesses “indicate that contaminated romaine lettuce may still be on the market, including in restaurants, grocery stores and any establishments that serve food.”
While romaine lettuce has been identified as a source of the outbreak, the cause of the initial vegetable contamination has not been identified.
After laboratory analysis, the genetics of this illness are reported to be linked to a previous E. coli outbreak from December 2017.
This means it’s likely the same strain of the illness causing the sickness in Canada and the US and it suggests “there may be a reoccurring source of contamination.”
As current illnesses linked to lettuce continue to be reported, people in Ontario and Quebec are being asked to avoid eating romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce until more is known about the outbreak.
At this time there is no evidence to suggest that residents in other parts of Canada are affected by this outbreak.
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People who become ill from E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some may have no symptoms and some may become seriously ill and be hospitalized. Symptoms can appear within one to 10 days after infection and can include:
- Severe stomach cramps
- Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
- Little or no fever
If you have eaten this product but have no symptoms, there is no need to do anything.
However, if you become ill after consuming this lettuce:
- Practice good hand washing with warm water and soap to prevent the spread of illness
- Drink lots of clear fluids to stay hydrated
- Anyone who has bloody diarrhea or is concerned about their symptoms should see a health care provider immediately
- Antibiotics and anti-diarrhea medications should not be used to treat this infection unless prescribed by your health care provider
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