The Public Health Agency of Canada says six Canadians have been stricken by a strain of E. coli that has a similar genetic fingerprint to romaine lettuce from Yuma Arizona that has already sickened 149 people in 29 states. At least 64 people have been hospitalized in the United States, including 17 with hemolytic uremic syndrome. One death occurred in California.
The six Canadian illnesses were reported between late March and mid-April in four provinces — one each in British Columbia and Alberta and two each in Saskatchewan and Ontario. One Canadian was hospitalized. No deaths have been reported in Canada.
Of the six, two Canadians reported travelling to the U.S. before getting sick and eating romaine lettuce while they were there. The others ate romaine lettuce at home, or in prepared salads purchased at grocery stores, restaurants and fast food chains, before their illnesses occurred.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says romaine lettuce from the Yuma is no longer being produced and distributed, so the potential for exposure to contaminated lettuce is reduced.