DNA from the current e.coli outbreak matches last year's outbreak

DNA from the current e.coli outbreak matches last year's outbreak

Paul and Jordana
November 21, 2018 - 6:20 pm



In response to an outbreak of E. Coli the CDC has advised consumers and restaurants to get rid of all their romaine lettuce. Minneapolis attorney Ryan Osterholm specializes in cases involving foodborne illnesses says this is a drastic, but necessary move by the CDC.

“We’ve never really heard this kind of language come out of CDC, the FDA or even Public Health Canada,” Osterholm told Paul and Jordana, “Just don’t eat romaine lettuce.”

The key to preventing future outbreaks is tracing the source of this one.

“We need to get a way better handle on being able to trace this stuff,” said Osterholm, “If you buy a bag of lettuce at Cub, there’s really no reason we shouldn’t be able to figure out where that comes from in a short amount of time.”

In fact, Osterholm says that new DNA testing should help find the culprit.

“They actually did something called ‘Whole-Genome Sequencing’ on this e. coli where the actual DNA of the E. Coli can be tested,” Olsterholm said, “And so we know pretty certainly which people are part of this outbreak and which people are not part of this outbreak. And more importantly the DNA of this e. coli is matching outbreaks from last year around this time where Canada was able to trace it to romaine. But we never found the smoking gun. We never found the farm where this came from.

Wherever the outbreak originated from, Olsterhom stresses that people need to take this advice from the CDC seriously. E. Coli is nothing to mess with.

“This is not like the 24 hour flu,” he said, “This is something where you are very, very likely going to end up in the hospital.”

Hear the entire interview here: