26 sickened; woman shares survival story after E. coli outbreak linked to Calif. lettuce

Belle Bourque of Westville, Nova Scotia, spent almost a month in hospital with E. coli O157:H7 after eating lettuce at a restaurant over the holidays.

“You know, one minute you’re healthy, you’re living a normal life and then ‘boom,’ you’re dying.”

Belle Bourque.e.coli.lettuce.13She spent nearly a month in hospital as E. coli bacteria attacked her kidneys.

“I’m sure if it wasn’t for the good doctors and the good Lord and all the prayers, I wouldn’t be here.”

Bourque’s case was one of more than a dozen confirmed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, along with 13 in Ontario.

In early Jan. 2013, the Public Health Agency of Canada said the most probable cause of 26 confirmed E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in the Maritimes and Ontario was shredded lettuce grown in California and distributed by FreshPoint Inc. primarily to some KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants.

The silence from the California Greens Marketing Agreement has been lettucedeafening.

A table of leafy green outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/leafy-greens-related-outbreaks.

No one in the Bourque family has eaten lettuce since Belle fell ill, and they don’t plan to unless it comes out of their own garden.