The CDC continues to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. "We should be able to reintroduce romaine lettuce back into our restaurants soon".
CDC and FDA will continue to update the public as more information on the outbreak source is uncovered.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are trying to pinpoint the exact region of where the strain of E.coli is coming from and if romaine lettuce is the source.
On January 10, 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections (STEC O157:H7) they had identified was linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention, the likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill. Most people recover from the illness in five to seven days.
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In the US, the CDC did not make any recommendations to the public about avoiding any foods in its initial December 28, 2017, media statement on the outbreak or in today's update.To date, only half of the USA victims have been interviewed by outbreak investigators. Based on this information, USA health officials concluded that ill people in this outbreak were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce. The Public Health Agency of Canada began advising people in the five implicated provinces to consider not eating romaine until further notice. Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of illnesses there, but the source of the romaine lettuce or where it became contaminated is unknown. However, in the United States, state and federal agencies stopped short of making that declaration, stating that the investigation is ongoing.
"To avoid any confusion and in an abundance of caution, we have temporarily removed romaine lettuce from our restaurants in the USA and Canada", said Heidi Schauer, Wendy's spokeswoman.
Both countries' public health officials posted updates on the outbreak today stressing that there is little remaining danger to the public because the most recent victim became sick December 12, 2017. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. "You can't taste, smell or see E. coli, which is what makes it so unsafe".
To help prevent E. coli infection, wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing and eating food. It's also important to avoid preparing food when you are sick, particularly if you are sick with diarrhea. There has been one death, which was previously reported. While the lettuce that may have caused the illnesses is no longer on the market, we do not know where the products were sold, or where the leafy green was grown, harvested, or processed. Romaine lettuce is mostly eaten raw and washing it or any produce tainted with E. coli will not remove the harmful bacteria.
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