Evidence ties romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak to tainted irrigation water

Source of E. coli in Deadly Romaine Lettuce Outbreak Finally Found

Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak is over as new evidence points to tainted water

At least 200 people, including 4 in Texas, were sickened. According to the Food and Drug Adminitsration (FDA), the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, 2018, and the harvest season there has ended.

The health officials noted that the outbreak strain of E. coli microbes was found in a water system canal in the Yuma region, on Thursday. These individuals ate whole-head romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region. It was the largest single food poisoning outbreak in the country in more than a decade.

"It is encouraging that public health officials found the outbreak strain of E. coli bacteria in the area", Fred added. Of those who endured hospitalizations, 27 developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Don't worry, the recent deadly outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce is over.

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"To date, CDC analysis of samples taken from canal water in the region has identified the presence of E. coli O157:H7 with the same genetic fingerprint as the outbreak strain", the FDA said in a June 28 update. "But it's troubling that other strains of this unsafe bacteria were found in environmental samples and that no specific farm was identified". They did not provide the location of the canal or any other details about it and are still trying to determine how the bacteria got into the canal and if there are other locations with E. coli contamination.

Foodborne illness reportedly affects nearly 50 million people every year, equal to roughly one in six Americans. The vaccine was field-tested near the end of the major 2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, The New York Times reported. But no other farm, processing center, or distributor was ever identified in this outbreak. Five people died from the outbreak strain. Since lettuce has a limited 21-day shelf life, the ones that were contaminated are no longer on store shelves or in restaurants.

Many hope that new policies could be put in place to catch the source of an outbreak sooner, or even before illness occurs.

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