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Outbreak of STEC E. coli Attributed to Lettuce


The CDC, the FDA and the Public Health Agency of Canada are investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157: H7 infection.  A total of 17 illnesses were confirmed from 13 states from November 15th through December 8th 2017.

Whole genome sequencing is in progress although initial results show commonality among isolates from patients.  Preliminary conclusions suggest that Romaine lettuce is the vehicle of infection but the epidemiology of the outbreak has yet to be defined.

Produce is emerging as an important source of bacterial infections including STEC E. coli, Salmonella and even Listeria.  Tracing outbreaks to origin is complicated by the multi-tier distribution system for fruit and vegetables.  It has been suggested that blockchain technology will be beneficial as demonstrated by Walmart Stores in trial conducted in the U.S. tracing the origin of mangos.







(SMS 065-18 January 9th 2018)