What you need to know: The lettuce-linked E. coli outbreak

Health officials confirm there have not been any cases reported on P.E.I., but according to the latest national update from the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are 41 reported cases of the illness in Canada and another 16 in the U.S. The outbreak has affected people in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The infections within the US have occurred in 13 states, including NY.

The consumer advocacy group called on the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do more to warn people about the outbreak, which at last count had made 58 people sick in the US and Canada. There has also been one death in Canada. Officials in Canada have identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in that country, but us officials say they still don't have enough information to name a food source involved in the American outbreak.

During the past seven weeks, 58 people in the USA and Canada have become ill from the strain of E. coli O157: H7. Two of the hospitalized patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

Canada has been struck with an outbreak caused by the same strain of E. coli; people there became sick in early November through early December.

Consumer Reports advises everyone to avoid buying romaine lettuce and to throw out any you may already have until there's more information about the source of the contamination.

Preliminary data suggest that the U.S. E. coli outbreak could be related to an E. coli outbreak in Canada - the E. coli strains involved in both outbreaks appear to be genetically similar, according to the CDC.

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USA authorities said Thursday that they continue to investigate a deadly multistate outbreak of E. coli infections that may be tied to romaine lettuce.

He said the longer it takes to pin down the source of adulteration, the more hard it will become over time, given that romaine is a perishable item.

Five people have been hospitalized in the USA and one has died, the Consumer Reports article said.

Fowlie told ABC News Thursday that the CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among the sick people, including leafy greens and romaine. The available data strongly suggest that romaine lettuce is the source of the US outbreak. Young children, the elderly and anyone with a condition that weakens the immune system are at a greater risk for illness.

Until the cause of the current outbreak is known and the implicated food is removed from the supply chain, CR's experts say consumers should avoid eating any romaine lettuce.

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