30 sickened: Miramichi E. coli outbreak linked to Romaine lettuce

The Sponge-Bob-Colbert leafy greens cone of silence has been partially peeled back after investigators in New Brunswick (that’s in Canada) determined an outbreak of E. coli O157 in April was linked to Romaine lettuce.

CBC News reports the Department of Health released results of a case control study on Friday that examined 55 people, including 18 individuals who were sick and 37 people who were not sick.

Dr. Eilish Cleary, the chief medical officer of health, said all of those in the study who were sick with E. coli appear to have consumed romaine lettuce.

"The lettuce was used in salads, as an ingredient in wraps and hamburgers and as a garnish. These results indicate a strong likelihood that contaminated lettuce was served at the restaurant,” Cleary said in a statement.

The Public Health Agency of Canada helped the province’s health department on the control study. The experts focused on the food items eaten by those who ate at Jungle Jim’s in Miramichi between April 23 and 26, 2012.

The federal agency became aware that cases matching the E. coli strain involved in the Miramichi outbreak had also been identified in Quebec and California, according to the province’s statement.

Now that would be something to follow up on. So while the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement folks were wining and dining Canadian journalists last month (not so much journalists, more like hacks) , I wonder how many asked about the Romaine-related outbreaks? There was also the Schnucks salad bar outbreak that sickened 58 people in the U.S. Midwest last fall.

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

24 sick, 8 hospitalized; E. coli O157 outbreak in New Brunswick

Public health officials are investigating an outbreak of 24 cases of E.coli O157:H7 infection in New Brunswick (that’s in Canada), including 20 in the Miramichi region.

"While lab testing continues, several cases have been confirmed as E. coli O157:H7, a severe strain that can sometimes cause serious illness," said Dr. Eilish Cleary, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, in a statement. "To date, 24 cases of bloody diarrhea suspected to be caused by E. coli have been reported in the province, with 20 in Miramichi, two in Saint John and two in Bathurst.”

Eight people have been hospitalized; the source of the outbreak has not yet been determined.