Dozens ill from E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

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CLEVELAND– The Centers for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada are investigating an outbreak of E. coli.

Seventeen cases have been reported across 13 states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to the CDC. A CDC spokeswoman said one death in the United States is linked to the outbreak.

In Canada, there are more than 40 cases. Canadian health officials said the E. coli infections are associated with romaine lettuce.

The CDC has not specifically said the lettuce is to blame. The health organization added the type of E. coli is closely related to the cases in Canada and the patients likely share a common source.

According to the CDC spokeswoman, there is not enough evidence at this time to indicate the sources of the illness in the U.S.

Consumer Reports, however, says people should stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and the tainted product is removed from store shelves.

The consumer advocacy group is now calling on the Food and Drug Administration and CDC to do more to warn the public about the dangers of the outbreak.

On its website, the CDC said it is currently “unable to recommend” whether people should avoid the food:

“Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether U.S. residents should avoid a particular food. This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available.”

Symptoms of E. coli vary, but often include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Some experience a low fever.

Most patients recover in five to seven days. Some infections can be life threatening.