Health authorities advised the public to thoroughly wash market-bought mixed salad leaves for possible E. coli (Escherichia coli) contamination after two have been killed and more than 150 infected in the UK.
Although the exact cause of the death is still to be determined, reports show that many of the victims of the E. coli O157 bug have consumed pre-packed salad, including rocket leaves.
Some of the symptoms include bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain, but people usually notice them three to four days after the occurrence of the infection but some signs could show any time between 1-14 days afterwards. The effects could last for up to two weeks.
Public Health England (PHE) was first notified to the epidemic at the end of June. The department now pointed out that the type of E. coli involved is possibly imported, more specifically from the Mediterranean area.
Recent reports confirm that there are already 151 cases, mostly from England and some in Wales, and one case in Scotland.
Sixty-two of the sufferers needed hospital care while two patients already died from the infection.
Dr. Isobel Oliver, a representative from PHE informed the public that, “All food sample results to date have been negative for E. coli O157 “. However, she emphasized that with this strain of E. coli, it is not always possible to identify the culprit in food testing alone.
She also added that the public should observe precautionary measures directed to the small number of wholesalers to temporarily stop adding imported rocket leaves to their salad products while authorities undergo more investigations.
Oliver suggested that people should wash their hands before eating and preparing food as well as washing vegetables thoroughly, unless pre-packed foods are labelled “ready to eat”
E. coli O157 can be usually found in the gut and solid waste of many animals like cattle, and can easily contaminate food and water.