One person has died as a result of an ecoli infection that is linked to romaine lettuce.
The Public Health Agency of Canada, joined with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate, after 30 cases of ecoli illness in five provinces.
The cases are in the following provinces: Ontario, (6), Quebec (5), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and December 2017.
Five of those illnesses are in New Brunswick.
Twelve of those individuals have been hospitalized, and those that have become sick are between the ages of 4 and 80 years old.
Public Health has also said that most of the cases are females.
There are no product recalls in connection with this outbreak, and Canadians are being reminded to follow safe handling practices for lettuce to avoid becoming ill.
The following food safety tips for lettuce will help you reduce your risk of getting an E. coli infection.
Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, before and after handling lettuce.
Unwashed lettuce, including whole heads of lettuce sold in sealed bags, should be handled and washed using these steps:
Discard outer leaves of fresh lettuce.
Wash unpackaged lettuce under fresh, cool running water. There is no need to use anything other than water to wash lettuce. Washing it gently with water is as effective as using produce cleansers.
Keep rinsing your lettuce until all of the dirt has been washed away.
Don’t soak lettuce in a sink full of water. It can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
Store lettuce in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Discard when leaves become wilted or brown.
Use warm water and soap to thoroughly wash all utensils, countertops and cutting boards before and after handling lettuce to avoid cross-contamination.
Ready-to-eat lettuce products sold in sealed packages and labelled as washed, pre-washed or triple washed do not need to be washed again. These products should also be refrigerated and used before the expiration date.
What are the symptoms?
People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others may feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. In some cases, individuals become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.
The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:
severe stomach cramps
watery or bloody diarrhea