DeLauro pushes CDC director for answers on E. coli outbreak

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"There appears to be an ongoing risk of E. coli infections associated with the consumption of romaine lettuce in Canada's eastern provinces", Canada said on December 28.

Even if the outbreak was caused by lettuce, it's unlikely the perishable product would still be available for sale or in a home refrigerator as the last illness onset date was reported to be December 8, the groups said.

The CDC believes the US and Canadian cases could be related, but isn't ready to issue a a specific warning about romaine.

An announcement was made on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which revealed seven more reports of E. coli infections that have spread to two more states, Maryland and New Jersey, in the ongoing outbreak.

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As part of the investigation into the source of contamination, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency tested romaine lettuce for the presence of E. coli. Seventeen people were hospitalized and one person died.

Although the outbreak appears to be over, the agency suggests safe food handling procedures for preparing lettuce should always be followed. "Preliminary results show that the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically, meaning the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection".

The case count by state is: California (3), CT (2), IL (1), IN (1), MI (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), NY (1), OH (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1), Vermont (1) and Washington (1). In the US, nine people were hospitalized due to the infection and two people were diagnosed with a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Some Canadian restaurant chains stopped serving dishes with romaine lettuce during the outbreak. People usually get sick 3 to 5 days after they eat food that is contaminated with the pathogenic bacteria. If you or anyone you know has been experiencing the symptoms of E. coli or HUS, see a doctor as soon as possible. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because of hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli O157:H7 infection.