7 new E. coli cases; continue avoiding romaine lettuce

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Consumer Reports recommended that consumers avoid romaine lettuce until the outbreak cause was determined.

Cases by state is as follows: California (4), CT (2), IL (1), IN (2), Maryland (3), MI (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), NY (1), OH (1), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).

She said American consumers "deserve more than this slow and insufficient response" and that families are "now left wondering if the food they are eating is safe". Some individuals may develop a severe illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which can be life-threatening, although most people recover in a few weeks. The investigation is ongoing, but CDC is not recommending that US residents avoid any particular food at this time.

Although the most recent illness started on December 12, there is a delay between when someone gets sick and when the illness is reported to CDC.

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But today, the Centers for Disease Control says that a Consumer Reports story last week advising people to avoid romaine lettuce was too quick to pinpoint that particular ingredient as the culprit.

On the same day, CDC announced the E. coli strains appeared related but would not identify a source of the infections.

State and local public health officials continue to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started.

It says the likely source of the US outbreak appears to be leafy greens but they haven't identified which type yet. To date, FDA said it has not identified a common or single point of origin for the food that made people ill. Ill people also reported eating different types and brands of romaine lettuce.

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The outbreak is responsible for 66 infections and two deaths in the two countries.

Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, said it's unclear what steps FDA and CDC are taking in the wake of one of the most serious outbreaks that has occurred in the Trump administration.

To protect against E. coli infection, health officials say people should thoroughly wash their hands, as well as counters, cutting boards and utensils. Illnesses usually begin three to four days after eating food contaminated with this bacteria. It's also important to avoid preparing food when you are sick, particularly if you are sick with diarrhea. She said it's still unclear whether FDA is intensifying testing of USA and imported products in the wake of Canada's findings.

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