The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on January 10 to report that an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over.
At least 15 states in the U.S. have reported illnesses. The likely source appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not identified a specific type of leafy greens eaten by the people who fell ill.
According to the CDC investigators:
It is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale. Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of illnesses there, but the source of the romaine lettuce or where it became contaminated is unknown.”
In the U.S., a total of 24 infections were reported from California (4), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Maryland (3), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).
At least 9 people were hospitalized, including 1 person in California who died. Two people developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening type of kidney failure.
The illnesses started between November 15 and December 12, 2017.
In Canada, 49 cases of E. coli were linked to romaine lettuce. One person died of severe complications from E. coli. Because lettuce has a short shelf-life, Canada has declared the outbreak over.
Leafy greens, including romaine lettuce, have caused outbreaks of E. coli in 2006, 2011, 2012, and 2013.