Federal officials say contaminated canal water near romaine lettuce growing fields is the likely source of the unusually virulent strain of E. coli that has sickened people across 36 states, killing five.
The outbreak is over, according to an update this afternoon from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency has confirmed 210 people with infections. Twenty-seven of the victims have developed kidney failure. The most recent victim became sick on June 6.
“Samples have been collected from environmental sources in the region, including water, soil, and cow manure. Evaluation of these samples is ongoing,” according to an update this afternoon from the Food and Drug Administration investigators.
“To date, CDC analysis of samples taken from canal water in the region has identified the presence of E. coli O157: H7 with the same genetic fingerprint as the outbreak strain. We have identified additional strains of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in water and soil samples, but at this time, the samples from the canal water are the only matches to the outbreak strain.”