Canadian E. coli outbreak may be linked to leafy greens

| April 17, 2015

Salad picThe Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with other federal and provincial public health authorities, is currently investigating a possible link between an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections and leafy green vegetables.

Twelve cases of illness caused by the same strain of verotoxigenic E. coli O157:H7 have so far been identified in Alberta (9), Saskatchewan (1), Ontario (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). The individuals concerned became ill between the 13th and 31st March.

The outbreak investigation has identified exposure to leafy greens, such as lettuce, kale and spinach, as a possible source of infection, but no specific vehicle has yet been found. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is currently conducting an investigation to identify the food product involved.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a Public Health Notice warning consumers about the outbreak and giving advice about hygienic handling of fresh fruit and vegetables to avoid infection. The Notice can be found in full here.

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