CDC declares E. coli outbreak over, continues romaine investigation

The CDC issued a final update on the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce grown in California, adding an additional three cases since the last update in mid-December.

A total of 62 cases were reported, in 16 states. No deaths were reported.

In a statement, the CDC gave final details for the outbreak:

  • As of January 9, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.
  • Contaminated lettuce that made people sick in this outbreak should no longer be available.
  • Three additional cases were reported since the last update on December 13, 2018. This brings the total number to 62 cases from 16 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Twenty-five people were hospitalized, including two people who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths were reported.
  • Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 7, 2018, to December 4, 2018.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada identified ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in Canada.
  • Romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California was the likely source of the outbreak.
  • The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, investigated farms and cooling facilities in California that were identified in traceback. CDC identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in sediment collected within an agricultural water reservoir on an Adam Bros, Inc. farm in Santa Barbara County, which was identified in the traceback investigation.
  • FDA is continuing to investigate to learn more about how the E. coli bacteria could have entered the agricultural water reservoir and ways romaine lettuce from the farm could have been contaminated, and whether there are other sources of the outbreak.

Canadian health officials declared the outbreak over on Dec. 24, with no illnesses reported in Canada since mid-November.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.