In a follow-up on the Escherichia coli O157, or E. coli O157 multi-province outbreak, Canadian health officials have reported and additional nine cases, two additional provinces and a fatality.
The outbreak now involves five provinces and is linked to romaine lettuce. Currently, there are 30 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in five provinces: Ontario, (6), Quebec (5), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and December 2017. Twelve individuals have been hospitalized. One individual has died.
At this time, there are no product recalls associated with this outbreak and the investigation is ongoing.
E. coli O157 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
The symptoms of E. coli O157 infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/less than 38.5˚C). Most people get better within 5–7 days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.
Around 5–10% of those who are diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
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