E. coli bacteria in Roman lettuce sickens six Canadians

Six Canadians have been infected with E. coli bacteria with a genetic fingerprint similar to that of romaine lettuce in the southwestern United States that has sickened 149 people in 29 US states, according to the Health Agency of Canada.

The organization states that two of the six Canadians reported traveling to the United States before becoming ill because of E. coli O157, that three of them were infected in Canada, and that the other case reports that subject of an investigation.

All people became ill between late March and mid-April in four provinces – one in British Columbia, one in Alberta, two in Saskatchewan, and two in Ontario.

One Canadian was hospitalized and no deaths were reported in Canada.

Two Canadians reported traveling to the United States and eating lettuce during their stay before becoming sick. Others ate romaine lettuce at home, or in prepared salads bought in grocery stores, restaurants and fast-food chains, before the disease became apparent.

The agency says that contaminated romaine lettuce is sold in the Canadian market, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will recall the product if necessary.

The US Food and Drug Administration claims that Roman lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, and California regions is no longer grown or distributed, reducing the risk of exposure to contaminated lettuce.

At least 64 people were hospitalized in the United States, including 17 with kidney failure. One death, previously reported, occurred in California.

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