Acting Health secretary confirms 2 Pennsylvania cases of E. coli

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Two cases of E. coli are being investigated in Pennsylvania, and one of them is linked to a nationwide outbreak that sickened 60 people.

Canada’s health agency has the linked an outbreak in that country to romaine lettuce. Consumer Reports is telling people in the U.S. not to eat the lettuce, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not identified the source of the infections here.

The message in Pennsylvania is buyer beware.

“It has not been verified by the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, and we will be waiting on any official recommendation about produce,” Physician General and Acting Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

The state Department of Agriculture also is waiting for word from federal officials and telling people to proceed with caution.

Other health experts suggest sticking to the “core four” for preparing foods to avoid getting sick. The four involve cleaning, separating produce from meats, cooking properly, and chilling nothing longer than two hours at room temperature.

Dr. John Goldman, an infectious disease specialist for UPMC Pinnacle, said E. coli is something that needs to be taken very seriously.

“The biggest problem is there are some strains of E. coli which can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome,” he said. “It attacks your kidneys, generally it attacks your blood cells. People go into renal failure. Very often you get sick and die from it.”

When it comes to grocery stores, Darrenkamps is telling customers worried about contamination to bring the lettuce back for a refund.

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