Lettuce may be the common link between attacks of food poisoning in Niagara Falls, Welland, Guelph, and Kitchener, Ontario. The culprit was E. coli strain O157.
Mike Barber, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Health officials in Ontario’s Halton and Niagara regions said Tuesday that the most likely source of an E. coli outbreak that has made more than 130 people sick throughout the province was lettuce.
Dr. Monir Taha, the associate medical officer for the Halton public health department, said while he couldn’t confirm a single product as a source, lettuce was the most common food named in interviews with those reporting symptoms of the food-borne illness.
In cases where those ill did not remember eating lettuce, cross-contamination with other raw produce seemed likely, he said.
he strain of E. coli O157 found in some of the Halton cases has also been linked to instances in the Niagara region, Guelph and Kitchener, suggesting a common food source throughout southern Ontario.Romaine lettuce appears to have been the cause in Niagara as well, said Dr. Doug Sider, the region’s associate medical officer.
“All of our data point toward it being (the common food source),” he said. Sider said they had narrowed the days of contamination to between Oct. 16 and 19.
The strain is uncommon in Canada but is known in the U.S.
The particular strain of E. coli 0157 found in cases in all four regions is rare in Canada, but has been linked to five cases from New Jersey, South Dakota, and California from the last year.