Six Canadians have been affected by a strain of E. Coli whose genetic fingerprint is similar to that of Romaine lettuce in the southwestern United States that has already sickened 149 people in 29 states, according to Federal health authorities.
The six Canadian cases were reported between late March and mid-April, with one in British Columbia, one in Alberta and two in both Saskatchewan and Ontario. Public Health Agency of Canada says two out of those six Canadians traveled to the United States before being sick with E. coli O157, three of them were infected in Canada and the other case(s) not yet investigated. Only one Canadian was hospitalized and no deaths were reported in Canada.
Two Canadians reported eating romaine lettuce while they were there traveling to the US, while the others ate romaine lettuce at home in prepared salads bought in supermarkets, or from restaurants and fast-food chains, before their illnesses occurred.
The Public Health Agency also said that if contaminated romaine lettuce is found on the Canadian market, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will remove the product if necessary.
The US Food and Drug Administration say that romaine lettuce is no longer produced or distributed in the Yuma, Arizona and California area, which reduces the risk of exposure to contaminated lettuce.
So far, at least 64 people have been hospitalized in the United States, including 17 with kidney failure. One death was reported in California.