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E. coli outbreak in lettuce due to contaminated water



But how was this salad contaminated in the first place? The answer could be in the water.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published on Thursday, romaine lettuce contaminated with a particularly virulent strain of E. coli O157: H7, affected 210 people in 36 states between March 13 and March 6th of June. The age of the victims was between 1 and 88 years.

Ninety-six of these people were sick enough to be hospitalized; Twenty-seven of them developed a hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Five people from four states died. It is the worst outbreak of E. coli 0157: H7 associated with spinach since an outbreak in 2006.

Using a special DNA fingerprinting method known as whole genome sequencing, the CDC was able to determine that the E. coli bacteria taken from diseased individuals were genetically closely related, so that a single source of infection was the most likely cause ,

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with the CDC and various state partners, traced the outbreak to a single growing region: Yuma, Arizona, who owns "Winter Lettuce Capital of the World " is called.

It's not just salad that Yuma delivers. Yuma grows $ 2.5 billion a year in over 1

75 different crops, including dates, lemons and melons, thanks to the rich soil that emerges from the Colorado River sediment and some large irrigation systems. But what's important here is that Yuma County says it grows 90% of all leafy vegetables that America eats between the months of November and March.

According to the FDA, the last deliveries of lettuce for the season in April and its shelf life has expired since then, so the contaminated salad is no longer available.

  Lettuce, liver, berries and other major causes of foodborne illness

During the investigation, the FDA noted that the outbreak is not due to a single breeder, harvester, processor or trader. It was across multiple supply chains. This led to the assumption that the outbreak could originate from a common source of water.

On Thursday, the CDC said that indeed samples from the canal water irrigating the Yuma fields were treated with the same deadly bacteria.

The E. coli O157: H7 found in the canal water is genetically closely related to the E. coli O157: H7 of diseased humans, "said the CDC in a recent update on the outbreak.

How the E.coli came in The canal water is still under investigation by the FDA. "Samples were collected from environmental sources in the area, including water, soil and cow dung. The evaluation of these samples is still ongoing, "the FDA said in an update.

Interestingly, not all people who got sick had actually eaten romaine lettuce, and some had close contact with people who had eaten the infected greens Recalls that fruit and vegetables must always use safe handling methods.

"Important steps are thorough cooking of meat and hand washing after using the toilet or changing diapers before and after preparation or eating after contact with animals" advises the CDC.


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