Verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC)
Outbreak Investigation: Verotoxin-producing E. coli
The national outbreak of verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) O157 infections linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over. As of January 10, 2018, 42 cases have been reported from five provinces in eastern Canada, including eight cases from Ontario. Romaine lettuce has been identified as a likely source of illness, but the cause of contamination has not been identified. No individuals in Canada have had illness onset dates beyond December 12, 2017. As a result, the outbreak appears to be over, and the risk to Canadians has returned to normal. It is no longer advised that individuals in the affected provinces consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce. All Canadians are advised to always use safe food handling tips for preparing lettuce. Public Health Ontario continues to collaborate with the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and other local, provincial, and federal partners in the investigation into the possible source of contamination for this outbreak. Additional information can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Public Health Notice.
On December 28, 2017, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a media statement regarding a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections that are genetically related to the outbreak in Canada. On January 10, 2018, an updated media statement was released by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.