A multistate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak that first became apparent in November has continued into 2018.
The outbreak might be associated with romaine lettuce and appears to be similar to another outbreak occurring in Canada. During the last weeks of 2017, the U.S. E. coli outbreak sickened at least 17 individuals in 13 states.
From mid-November through the first week of December, consumers in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington have fallen ill, according to health officials. To date, no source of contaminated food—lettuce or otherwise—has been publicly identified. State and local health officials continue to interview sickened individuals in an effort to pinpoint a common food source. Until then, officials cannot announce a recall, nor can they recommend that consumers avoid any particular food product.
In Canada, the Public Health Agency announced its own E. coli outbreak in early December. More than 40 cases have emerged in Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec. Canadians have been urged to avoid consuming romaine lettuce until further notice.
The U.S. outbreak is being jointly investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
More on E. coli and romaine lettuce:
Is It Time for a Killy Step for Pathogens on Produce at Retail?
Microbiological Safety of Fresh-Cut Produce from the Processor to Your Plate