Approximately 58 people in the U.S. and Canada have fallen ill due to an E. coli outbreak likely caused by tainted romaine lettuce. According to Consumer Reports, the infections have occurred in 13 states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.
It is reported that five people in the U.S. have been hospitalized and one has died. There has also been one death in Canada.
A Canadian public health notice has identified romaine lettuce as the potential source of outbreak, but the cause of contamination is still under investigation. The Canadian government is investigating cases in five provinces, and officials are warning consumers in eastern Canada to consider other types of leafy greens while grocery shopping or eating out to avoid contracting the possibly fatal bacteria.
The particular strain of E. coli under investigation (O157:H7) is known to cause hemorrhagic diarrhea, kidney failure, and death in young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. It is transmitted by animal feces that come into contact with vegetables, raw meat, and milk.