Deadly E. Coli Outbreak Tied to Leafy Greens Likely Over, C.D.C. Says


Canadian health officials linked an E. coli outbreak there to romaine lettuce, while American officials said “leafy greens” were likely to blame for illnesses in the United States. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

A pair of fatal E. coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens in the United States and Canada appear to be over, health experts said on Wednesday.

American officials said that the outbreak in the United States was most likely caused by “leafy greens,” and their counterparts in Canada specifically identified romaine lettuce as the source of the infections there.

The last reported illness in the United States was on Dec. 12, suggesting that the risk of buying food contaminated in the current outbreak had passed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale,” the agency said.

Tests revealed that the bacterial strains to blame for at least 66 reported illnesses across both countries were closely genetically related, though that similarity alone was not enough to credit a common cause, officials in the United States said.

Source: The New York Times