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UPDATE: National E. coli Outbreak Is Worsening, a Blanket Ban On Romaine Lettuce Is Recommended

UPDATE: National E. coli Outbreak Is Worsening, a Blanket Ban On Romaine Lettuce Is Recommended


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The CDC is warning people that tainted lettuce ended up in the following pre-packaged salads as well.

UPDATE: The national recall of romaine lettuce has worsened since the FDA and CDC first traced an E.coli outbreak back to Arizona, and now both organizations are recommending a blanket ban on all romaine lettuce.

An additional five states have sprouted new cases, and health officials are reporting a hospitalization rate of more than 60 percent, which the CDC says is twice the normal rate.

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The CDC released an update citing 53 confirmed E.coli sicknesses across 16 different states nationwide—more than 31 people needed to be rushed to the hospital stemming from romaine-related infections, and five of them have developed a rare kind of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome. The newest cases are popping up in Alaska, California, Louisiana, Montana, and Arizona itself.

Both the CDC and the FDA have doubled down in warning shoppers and home cooks about this massive recall. This is the first time in recent years, the agencies have recommend a blanket ban.

“If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it. If you have already purchased products containing chopped romaine lettuce, including bagged salads, salad mixes, or prepared salads, throw them away,” the FDA writes, in a new update released on Wednesday.

Health officials are wary of the everyday shopper's ability to effectively identify the at-risk romaine lettuce, which was produced specifically in Yuma, Arizona. And this particular recall is extra worrisome given that Arizona is one of the nation's leading providers of all kinds of produce: There are more than 1,300 farms in operation in the state with upwards of 26 million acres of farmland used to grow food, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

But with the FDA's formal warning, and reports of retailers pulling all romaine products and prepared salads from their shelves, it might be best to simply avoid romaine for the foreseeable future. If you're hungry for a Caesar salad, try using kale.

The original article, published on April 16, continues below:

---

It's the second time this year that Americans are being warned to stay away from romaine lettuce due to E.coli contamination, following a massive outbreak in January that killed one and sickened 50-plus others across the United States and Canada. The latest bout has affected 35 people in 11 different states.

But the outbreak might be even more worrisome as the tainted lettuce has made its way into prepared, ready-to-eat salads sold across the nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that three people are being treated for a rare kidney failure known as "hemolytic uremic syndrome" after eating the contaminated lettuce. According to the agency, and with the help of the Food and Drug Administration, the source of the latest round of E.coli poisoning stems from romaine producers in the Yuma, Arizona region.

They haven't identified which grower, distributor, supplier, or even brand is responsible for spreading the sickness just yet.

More than 90 percent of those affected by the outbreak said they ate romaine lettuce before getting sick, including those served chopped salads at local restaurants. Before the CDC and FDA pinpointed the general source, some news outlets reported a possible link between Panera Bread salads and a few serious E.coli cases in New Jersey last week—but it's unclear if the salads served at these restaurants included lettuce grown in Arizona.

In addition to asking consumers to toss lettuce that has been purchased recently—especially products sourced from the Arizona region—the CDC says that there are a few pre-packaged salads and salad mixes that could be at risk.

Food Safety News reports that mixed salads available at regional grocery chain Market District have been compromised, including four different varieties under its in-house "Great to Go" brand. Some of the prepared meals that could be tainted include chicken caesar salad, chicken and bacon salad, and a chef's salad with ham, turkey, and hard-boiled eggs.

The CDC is still working to find which particular Arizona source is responsible for the E.coli outbreak, but you can see how this outbreak affects your area by taking a look at the up-to-date map of case counts published by the CDC right here. It'll help you avoid any chance of possibly falling ill, including suffering the seriously awful side effects of severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.


The CDC Confirmed An E. Coli Outbreak It Believes Is Linked To Romaine Lettuce From California

The CDC issued a food safety alert on Friday advising people not to consume romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA, region following 40 reported cases of E. coli.

In the alert, the CDC advised that people not eat and businesses not sell any romaine products that have been labeled as created in (or partly in) Salinas. This includes all types of whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and packages of precut lettuce and salad mixes which contain romaine. If your romaine does not include a region or you aren't sure if it's romaine, the CDC advises throwing it away.

The CDC also reported 40 confirmed cases of E. coli from 16 states associated with the recall, 28 of which have been hospitalizations. There have been no deaths. You can find a map of reported cases here.

The alert listed the recent salad recall from Missa Bay, LLC which saw thousands of pounds of pre-packaged salad recalled over E. coli fears.

&ldquoWe are concerned about the potential for contaminated lettuce on store shelves and in people&rsquos refrigerators," Director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases Dr. Robert Tauxe told USA Today in a statement: "Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, it is critically important to avoid buying or eating romaine lettuce from the Salinas growing area so you can protect yourself and your family.&rdquo

If you have any of the romaine lettuce in question in your home, you should dispose of it and wash any surfaces it may have touched.

Romaine lettuce has been linked to several outbreaks in recent years and this most recent health alert said that this outbreak was caused by the same strain of E. coli that caused outbreaks linked to lettuce in 2017 and 2018.


The latest E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Salinas region of California has sicked 102 people in 23 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

E. COLI OUTBREAK UPDATE: 102 ill people now reported from 23 states. CDC’s advice remains the same: Do not eat, sell, or serve romaine lettuce from the Salinas growing region. If you don’t know or can’t tell where the lettuce is from, don’t eat it. https://t.co/sZvP3yMmqV pic.twitter.com/r74BwWSkbh

— CDC (@CDCgov) December 4, 2019

There have been 58 people hospitalized and 10 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

The illnesses began on Sept. 24 and were last reported on Nov. 18, according to the CDC.

There may be other cases not yet reported because it can take several weeks between the time a person becomes ill and the infection is identified.

People usually get sick from E. coli infection about three to four days after eating or drinking something contaminated with the bacteria.

Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

People are urged not to eat the leafy green if the label doesn’t say where it was grown. Supermarkets and restaurants were also urged not to serve or sell the lettuce, unless they’re sure it was grown elsewhere.

The warning applies to all types of romaine from the Salinas region, include whole heads, hearts and pre-cut salad mixes.

“We’re concerned this romaine could be in other products,” said Laura Gieraltowski, lead investigator of the outbreak at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The preliminary investigation indicates that some of the ill people ate lettuce grown in Salinas, California, although no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine has been identified.

The current outbreak is caused by the same strain of E. coliO157:H7 that caused outbreaks linked to leafy greens in 2017 and to romaine lettuce in 2018.

After last year’s pre-Thanksgiving outbreak tied to romaine, the produce industry agreed to voluntarily label the lettuce with harvest regions. Health officials said that would make it easier to trace romaine and issue more specific public health warnings when outbreaks happen.

Officials never identified exactly how romaine might have become contaminated in past outbreaks. But another outbreak in spring 2018 that sickened more than 200 people and killed five was traced to tainted irrigation water near a cattle lot. E. coli is found in the feces of animals such as cows.


Outbreak of E. coli Infections Linked to Leafy Greens

This outbreak is over. Investigators have linked this outbreak to leafy greens, but a specific type or brand was not identified. You do not need to avoid eating leafy greens because of this outbreak. Learn more about how leafy greens can get contaminated and steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick from eating leafy greens.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated several multistate outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 infections. This outbreak is different from two other E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that occurred at the same time (E. coli outbreak with unknown source 1 and E. coli outbreak with unknown source 3).

  • As of December 22, 2020, this outbreak is over.
  • A total of 40 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 19 states.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 10, 2020, to October 31, 2020.
    • 20 people were hospitalized, and 4 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported.

    Vegetables, including leafy greens, are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, they can sometimes be contaminated with harmful germs.

    The safest produce is cooked the next safest is washed.

    If you plan to eat your leafy greens raw:

      for 20 seconds with soap and water before and after preparing leafy greens.
  • Discard outer leaves and any torn or bruised ones.
  • Wash leafy greens if they are not labeled &ldquoready to eat,&rdquo &ldquotriple washed,&rdquo or &ldquono washing necessary.&rdquo Washing removes some germs and dirt, but it does not completely remove all germs.
    • Rinse the leafy greens under running water and use your hands to gently rub the surface of the leaves. If you do not have access to safe tap water, rinse with other drinkable water (such as filtered, bottled, or distilled water).
    • Don&rsquot soak leafy greens in a sink or a bowl filled with water. They can get contaminated with germs in the sink and germs can spread from one leaf to the other leaves.

    • People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) 2 to 8 days (average of 3 to 4 days) after swallowing the germ.
    • Symptoms often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some people may have a fever, which usually is not very high (less than 101˚F/38.5˚C).
    • Some people with a STEC infection may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
    • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli infections might increase their risk of developing HUS, and a benefit of treatment has not been clearly demonstrated.
    • For more information, see Symptoms of E. coli Infection.

    December 22, 2020

    CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to leafy greens.

    Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may have been part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on E. coli bacteria isolated from ill people by using a standardized laboratory and data analysis method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these sequences that are used to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives investigators detailed information about the bacteria causing illness. In this investigation, WGS showed that bacteria isolated from ill people were closely related genetically. This means that people in this outbreak were more likely to share a common source of infection.

    As of December 18, 2020, a total of 40 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 19 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

    Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 10, 2020, to October 31, 2020. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 85 years, with a median age of 33 years, and 60% were female. Of 34 ill people with information available, 20 people were hospitalized and 4 people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported.

    WGS analysis was conducted for isolates from 19 ill people an isolate from 1 ill person was predicted to be resistant to ampicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, and 18 isolates from ill people were not predicted to be resistant to any antibiotics. Standard antibiotic susceptibility testing by CDC&rsquos National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory is currently underway. These findings do not affect treatment guidance since antibiotics are not recommended for patients with E. coli O157:H7 infections.

    Investigation of the Outbreak

    Epidemiologic and traceback evidence showed that leafy greens were the likely source of this outbreak. Investigators were unable to identify a specific type or brand of leafy greens because people in this outbreak reported eating a variety of leafy greens and because different leafy greens are often grown, harvested, and processed together.

    State and local public health officials interviewed ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures in the week before they got sick. Of the 23 ill people interviewed, 22 reported eating or maybe eating a variety of leafy greens, including spinach (16) and romaine lettuce (15).

    FDA completed traceback investigations for several types of leafy greens ill people reported eating. Several farms of interest were identified, but no single ranch was a common source of the leafy greens.

    FDA and state partners conducted inspections on farms of interest and collected environmental samples. For more information, including the sampling results, visit the FDA outbreak webpage external icon .


    How to Wash Romaine Lettuce

    This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards.

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    Romaine lettuce is a delicious complement to any meal, but you might be hesitant to use it due to its past involvement in several past E. coli outbreaks. If your national health organization hasn’t issued a warning, you can use cold running water and paper towels to wash and pat dry your romaine lettuce leaves. If you aren’t sure if your lettuce leaves are contaminated or you just want to play it extra safe, feel free to boil or cook the romaine instead.


    Romaine lettuce is not safe to eat, CDC warns U.S. consumers

    Romaine lettuce is unsafe to eat in any form, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday in a broad alert in response to a new outbreak of illnesses caused by a particularly dangerous type of E. coli contamination.

    The CDC told consumers to throw away any romaine lettuce they may already have purchased. Restaurants should not serve it, stores should not sell it, and people should not buy it, no matter where or when the lettuce was grown. It doesn’t matter if it is chopped, whole head or part of a mix. All romaine should be avoided.

    The CDC alert, issued just two days before Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving dinners, reported that 32 people in 11 states have become sick from eating contaminated romaine. Of those, 13 have been hospitalized, with one patient suffering from a form of kidney failure. The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported 18 people infected with the same strain of E. coli.

    No deaths have been reported.

    “Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick,” the CDC said in the Food Safety Alert issued shortly before 3 p.m.

    “This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad,” the CDC said. “If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.”

    The agency also advised consumers to wash and sanitize drawers and shelves where the lettuce was stored. People usually become sick within three or four days of consuming lettuce contaminated with the E. coli, according to the CDC.

    The origin of the outbreak is unknown and remains under investigation. The CDC did not limit the warning to romaine from any particular agricultural area.

    California has the highest number of reported illnesses, with 10, followed by Michigan with seven, New Jersey with three, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York with two each, and the remainder in Connecticut, Maryland, Ohio and Wisconsin.

    The Food and Drug Administration issued a statement saying it is making a special effort to test romaine for contamination across the country.

    “The quick and aggressive steps we’re taking today are aimed at making sure we get ahead of this emerging outbreak, to reduce risk to consumers, and to help people protect themselves and their families from this foodborne illness outbreak. This is especially important ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, when people will be sitting down for family meals,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

    Five people died in the most recent major outbreak from contaminated romaine, which lasted from March to June of this year and led to 210 cases in 36 states. That outbreak was traced to the Yuma, Ariz. growing region, but investigators never conclusively determined the precise source.

    The latest outbreak does not appear to be connected to the Yuma outbreak. Rather, this outbreak involves a strain of E. coli that has the same genetic fingerprint as the one that caused illnesses from leafy greens late last year in both the United States and Canada. That outbreak was declared over in January.

    All three outbreaks — the current one, the one from Yuma and the one from last year — are caused by contamination of E. coli O157:H7. It produces a Shiga toxin that can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Until the 1990s, most E. coli cases in humans came from eating contaminated hamburger. In more recent years, after reforms in the livestock industry, the outbreaks have been most often associated with leafy greens.


    Don’t eat romaine lettuce from California’s Salinas Valley, CDC warns

    Federal health and regulatory officials warned consumers Friday not to eat romaine lettuce of any kind harvested from the Salinas Valley, one of California’s major agricultural regions, because it may be contaminated with a particularly dangerous type of E. coli bacteria that has sickened 40 people in 16 states.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration told consumers to throw away any romaine lettuce they may already have purchased. Restaurants should not serve it, stores should not sell it, and people should not buy it, if it was harvested from Salinas, a growing area in Northern California. It doesn’t matter if it is chopped, whole head, precut or part of a mix.

    Most romaine lettuce products are now labeled with a harvest location showing where they were grown. Officials said to throw out lettuce if it doesn’t have a label specifying where it’s from.

    “We are concerned about the potential for contaminated lettuce on store shelves and in people’s refrigerators,” said Robert Tauxe, director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. “Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, it is critically important to avoid buying or eating romaine lettuce from the Salinas growing area so you can protect yourself and your family.”

    No deaths have been reported in this E. coli outbreak, but the strain is the same one that caused outbreaks linked to leafy greens and romaine lettuce in the last two years. Just two days before Thanksgiving last year, CDC issued an unusually broad alert, warning consumers to avoid eating romaine lettuce of any kind in response to an outbreak.

    Of those who have been sickened in this outbreak by E. coli O157: H7, 28 people have been hospitalized, including five who have developed a type of kidney failure. This E. coli strain produces a Shiga toxin that can enter a person’s bloodstream and wreak havoc on kidney function. Symptoms of infection include vomiting, painful cramps and diarrhea that is often bloody.


    What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

    by Rachel Nania, AARP, Updated June 15, 2021 | Comments: 0

    Latest Updates

    • Coronavirus was likely circulating in the U.S. months before it became more widespread. New data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was circulating in the U.S. as early as December 2019 — several weeks before the first recognized cases. Researchers analyzed more than 24,000 stored blood samples from participants across all 50 states that were contributed between Jan. 2 and March 18, 2020 and found antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in nine participant samples. “These antibodies do not appear until about two weeks after a person has been infected, indicating that participants with these antibodies were exposed to the virus at least several weeks before their sample was taken,” a news release from the NIH states. The results align with a previous study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also suggests the virus was in the U.S. in December 2019.

    What You Should Know About the Coronavirus

    Answers to the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

    Are older adults at higher risk of illness?

    Older adults and people with chronic underlying health conditions are more likely than younger, healthier people to experience serious illness from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. There is no specific age at which risk increases. Rather, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “risk increases steadily as you age” with the greatest risk for severe illness being among those age 85 and older. Ninety-five percent of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have occurred among people who were 50 or older.

    Part of the reason risk increases with age is that people are more likely to have other health issues later in life, and underlying health conditions are a huge driver of complications that arise from COVID-19. A June 2020 report from the CDC found that hospitalizations for people with COVID-19 were six times as high for patients with chronic health conditions, compared to otherwise healthy individuals deaths among this population were 12 times as high.

    People with the following conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, the CDC says:

    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate to severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension
    • Dementia or other neurological conditions
    • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
    • Down syndrome
    • Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or hypertension)
    • HIV infection
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
    • Liver disease
    • Overweight and obesity (defined as a body mass index of 25 or greater)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
    • Smoking, current or former
    • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant (includes bone marrow transplants)
    • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
    • Substance use disorders (such as alcohol, opioid or cocaine use disorder)

    What can older adults do to reduce their risk?

    Get vaccinated

    The FDA has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for three COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J). All three vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing severe disease, studies show.

    People who have been fully vaccinated — which is two weeks after the single dose J&J shot, or two weeks after the second shot of the two-dose vaccines — can start to ease up on some of the precautions we’ve been practicing this past year. For example, fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask or stay 6 feet apart from others, except when required by federal or local regulations, or by business or workplace rules. Vaccinated individuals can also travel more freely. For example, domestic trips don’t need to be followed by testing and quarantining.

    Avoid crowds and close contact with others

    If you haven’t been vaccinated, the best way to dodge a coronavirus infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Limit interactions with people outside your household as much as possible, keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others and wash your hands often with soap and water (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not an option).

    Also if you are not fully vaccinated: The CDC recommends wearing face masks in indoor settings (other than your own home, as long as no one is sick with the virus) and outdoors when a minimum physical distance of 6 feet from others cannot be maintained. Face masks help protect the wearer from coronavirus infection, in addition to helping protect others from being infected by the wearer.

    Wearing a surgical mask under a cloth mask significantly improves protection from the coronavirus by creating a tighter fit around the face, a CDC study published Feb. 10 found. The study showed that when a cloth mask was worn over a surgical mask, 92.5 percent of cough particles were blocked, compared to only about 42 percent from a cloth or surgical mask alone.

    The CDC study also revealed that the performance of surgical masks can be improved by knotting ear loop strings where they meet the mask and folding in and flattening mask edges. The researchers said their results demonstrate the importance of ensuring a mask fits well, with no gaps around the edges.

    Save 25% when you join AARP and enroll in Automatic Renewal for the first year. Get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.

    What about travel?

    Before you make travel plans, be sure to double-check any rules pertaining to your destination and mode of transportation. Many countries and states have travel restrictions or guidelines in place that could affect your trip — the same goes for airlines. AARP has a list of coronavirus restrictions in every state. Plus, the CDC has country-specific travel recommendations based on COVID-19 risk levels.

    The CDC says both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers should still follow these recommendations for traveling safely.

    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
    • Keep a safe distance from others and avoid crowds.
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.

    Travel guidance for fully vaccinated people. Fully vaccinated people can travel “at low risk to themselves,” health officials say, but they should still wear masks, avoid crowds, socially distance and wash their hands frequently. They can leave the country without getting a COVID-19 test unless their destination requires it, and they do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the U.S. unless it’s required by a local jurisdiction.

    However, vaccinated people are still required to have a negative COVID-19 test result before they board an international flight in order to return to the U.S., the CDC says, and they should take a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning. People are fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive their second dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

    Travel guidance for unvaccinated people. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

    Testing can help you travel more safely, the CDC says. The CDC recommends getting tested with a viral test one to three days before your trip. Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel you may be asked for them.

    International travel is strongly discouraged for unvaccinated individuals. Those who must travel should have a negative COVID-19 viral test result no more than three days before leaving the country and they are required to have a negative COVID-19 viral test result no more than three days before returning to the U.S.

    Testing and quarantining are also advised upon return. AARP has information about specific travel advisories, and airline change fees, as well as tips on how to stay safe when you travel.

    How is the coronavirus spreading?

    In updated guidance, the CDC says COVID-19 spreads “when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus” and another person inhales them, which is why experts warn against congregating in poorly ventilated spaces. These droplets and particles can also land on a person’s eyes, nose or mouth and “in some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch.”

    However, health experts are less focused on surface transmission, compared to the first few months of the pandemic, since “current evidence strongly suggests transmission from contaminated surfaces does not contribute substantially to new infections,” the CDC says. Cleaning surfaces with soap or detergent is enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus in most situations.

    Finally, it’s important to note that COVID-19 can be spread by people before they start showing symptoms of COIVID-19 (presymptomatic) or even if they never develop symptoms (asymptomatic). A study published Jan. 7 in JAMA Network Open found that people without symptoms account for about 59 percent of all COVID-19 transmission. The study underscores why it’s important to wear a mask, practice social distancing, avoid crowds and take other precautions, whether you have symptoms or not.

    What are the symptoms?

    People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms that typically appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Here is the latest list of symptoms, according to the CDC:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    The CDC acknowledges this list is not exhaustive skin rashes or lesions may also be a sign of the virus.

    Health experts are asking anyone who experiences symptoms to call their health care provider or local health department for advice before seeking care to avoid spreading germs to others. Those who are feeling sick and are unsure of their symptoms can also check the CDC’s interactive guide for advice on appropriate medical care.

    However, if you develop emergency warning signs — pain or pressure in the chest new disorientation or confusion pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds difficulty breathing or an inability to wake or stay awake — get medical attention immediately, health officials warn.

    The CDC also has tips for what to do if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.

    How is COVID-19 treated?

    Researchers are continuing to study potential treatments for COVID-19, and several promising developments have taken place. Here are some of the treatment options:

    Remdesivir: Remdesivir is the first — and so far, only — treatment for COVID-19 to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Research shows it can help hospitalized COVID-19 patients recover faster.

    Dexamethasone and other corticosteroids: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sept. 2 issued new guidelines that strongly recommend the use of dexamethasone (along with other inexpensive and common corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone) for the treatment of patients “with severe and critical COVID-19.” Clinical trials found that corticosteroids cut the risk of death in patients hospitalized with the disease.

    Bamlanivimab and etesevimab: This therapy, from drug manufacturer Eli Lilly, combines two monoclonal antibody drugs. The combination received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA on Feb. 9 to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in patients at high risk of severe disease, including people 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions. Bamlanivimab is no longer authorized as a treatment when used on its own. The drugs are not approved to treat hospitalized patients or those who require oxygen.

    Casirivimab and imdevimab : Another antibody treatment, Regeneron's COVID-19 monoclonal antibody cocktail received an EUA on Nov. 21 for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients who are at high risk of progressing to more severe illness, including people 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions.

    Convalescent plasma: Blood plasma donated by individuals who have recovered from coronavirus infection contains antibodies that may speed recovery when administered to patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The FDA granted an EUA for convalescent plasma on Aug. 23. A study published Jan. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that giving plasma infusions to patients 65 and older experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms within a few days of symptom onset significantly reduced the need for oxygen support.

    What should I know about the vaccines?

    The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for three vaccines: from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

    All three vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe disease, studies show, and adverse reactions have been extremely rare.

    The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines call for two doses, spaced 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna) apart. However, if that is not feasible, the CDC has said the doses may be spaced up to six weeks apart.

    The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot. On April 23, health officials added a warning to this vaccine’s fact sheet following reports of a rare but serious type of blood clot experienced by a small number of people who had received the J&J vaccine. The FDA and CDC reviewed 15 reported cases of the blood clotting disorder, all in women ages 18 to 59 who had received the J&J vaccine and determined the vaccine’s benefits outweigh any known risks.

    The new warning advises individuals to seek medical attention right away if they experience any of these symptoms after receiving the J&J vaccine: chest pain leg swelling persistent abdominal pain severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision or easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection. Among the known cases, these symptoms occurred six to 15 days after vaccination, setting them apart from the expected vaccine side effects. It also warns health care providers that heparin — a drug commonly used to break up clots — may be harmful in patients with this rare type of clot.

    It’s common to experience temporary side effects after getting the vaccine, such as soreness in the arm, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, nausea, fever or chills. They are a sign that the vaccine is working.

    You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or after your second dose of the two-dose vaccines.


    Space tech that feeds high-end diners in Toronto could help Canada's North

    Technology being used to stock high-end Toronto restaurants with designer leafy greens could provide Northern Canadians with locally grown produce.

    That's the view of academic experts and entrepreneurs involved with a high-tech vertical garden housed in an east-end Toronto warehouse.

    "We're going to grow food using light recipes to make economic food, to make food cost-effective" says Amin Jadavji, "and I think that's the North story".

    Jadavji is CEO of We the Roots , a company he co-founded in 2017 with six others, including celebrity chef Guy Rubino.

    Recently, the federal government increased funding for shipping food to Northern Canada and expanded the Nutrition North program. That move comes as advances in hydroponics and LED lighting coming from research to grow food in space are expanding the prospects for northern farming.

    The vertical farm of We the Roots is a commercial test of the new tech. The most traditional farm-like thing about it is the pickup truck parked outside.

    The structure inside a former factory is roughly 14 metres long by three metres wide and four metres tall. It houses from 15,000 to 20,000 plants at a time. "We're growing wild Italian arugula, mizuna, which is a Japanese mustard green, Tuscan kale, basil," Jadavji says, "and a little bit of cilantro."

    See how hydroponic technology grows vegetables:

    The operation is hydroponic and almost entirely automated. Water in the system carries nutrients and is recycled.

    Plants are nested in trays and stacked seven layers high, each one under strips of LED bulbs. The bulbs provide a tailored light combination (cool white, green, deep red, ultraviolet, far red), created to bring out specific qualities in the plants, changing their size, texture and even taste.

    Then there's the nutrition factor. "We can increase things like calcium and phosphorus and various vitamins by as much as 50 per cent just by changing light recipes," says Jadavji.

    The system at We the Roots is the first commercial use of a concept developed by the University of Guelph in collaboration with a Norwegian company called Intravision , says Jadavji.

    The university's Space and Advanced Life Support Agriculture program, which focuses on trying to grow plants in hostile environments like space, began using Intravision's LED lights in research. That developed into a stacked system that both light and water flow through.

    Though this technology was created to help feed astronauts of the future, the first customers are already enjoying lunch and dinner at five upscale Toronto restaurants, including Parcheggio .

    In the hierarchy everything clicks into place with this product, which is awesome. — Andrew Piccinin, Parcheggio executive chef

    Parcheggio's executive chef Andrew Piccinin dropped romaine lettuce from his salad menu after California's E. coli problem . With greens from We the Roots, he doesn't worry about E. coli because hydroponics aren't vulnerable to the same contamination.

    Besides safety, he loves that the greens are flavourful, local, and environmentally friendly. "In the hierarchy everything clicks into place with this product, which is awesome."

    Vertical farming is part of a recent explosion in urban agriculture, a broad agriculture practice that dates back to ancient Egypt.

    According to the United Nations, urban agriculture doubled from the early 1990s to 2005. Now, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says 800 million people in cities are growing fruits and veggies or raising animals, accounting for 15 to 20 per cent of the world's food.

    Vertical farming operations are a leading part of the trend.

    Analysts suggest the vertical farm market will shoot up to $13 billion US a year by 2024 , from just under 1.8 billion US in 2017.

    Though vertical farming has seen some high-profile failures in Vancouver and Chicago , entrepreneurs and investors see fresh opportunity.

    CBC News reported on a massive investment in the sector in 2016. Inside Aerofarms' large 6,500-square-metre facility in New Jersey aeroponics are used, spraying plants with mist instead of submerging them in water. The farm has the capacity to produce two million pounds of food a year.

    In Canada, McCain Foods invested in a Nova Scotia vertical farm company called TruLeaf in the spring of 2018 .

    We the Roots plans to expand its Toronto operations next year. Jadavji is also opening two new farms, one about 135 kilometres from Toronto and one in New Jersey, each of them 1,850 square-metre facilities to produce 1.3 million pounds of greens per year.

    Going big isn't the only way to get into vertical farming though.

    Tiny turnkey vertical farms built inside shipping containers can be seen in cities such as Victoria , Calgary and Dartmouth, N.S.

    Container operators can grow from 3,000 to 5,000 plants and sell at farmers' markets and to restaurants and caterers. Prices for container farms range from just over $50,000 to more than $200,000.

    American container farm makers have clever names like Freight Farms and Crop Box , and Canadians are doing the same with brands such as Growcer and Modular Farms , which sells new custom containers.

    While many vertical farms are in large cities, Ottawa-based Growcer has six of its high-tech containers in Alaska and three in Northern Canada, with systems in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Kuujjuaq, Que., and Churchill, Man. Another system is going to Manitoba and one to Yellowknife as well.

    Its units are insulated to function in temperatures as cold as –​52 C. Growcer CEO Corey Ellis says the company began in 2015 deeply concerned about improving the supply of fresh food in the North.

    It was the high food prices in the North that also gave the company a buffer period to improve its technology. The company was able to win Northern customers as it was working to lower operating costs.

    "It was a great testing ground because you know with a $7 head of lettuce that's on the shelf before we show up," says Ellis, "we knew that if we could even do a $3 head we would be doing well." Ellis says Growcer's systems have advanced so much some units can match wholesale prices of greens from California.

    It galls me, quite frankly, to think this Canadian technology will find its first expression in a large scale pilot in the deserts of Kuwait. — Mike Dixon, University of Guelph

    Experts believe it's time to try large scale vertical gardens in the North.

    University of Guelph professor Mike Dixon is frustrated technology from the school's space agriculture program isn't being used to help address Northern food security.

    We The Roots wants to try the system Dixon helped create in the North, but it will be tested in extreme heat before severe cold. Why? Because Kuwait is willing to invest in it.

    "It galls me, quite frankly," says Dixon, "to think this Canadian technology will find its first expression in a large-scale pilot in the deserts of Kuwait."


    Watch the video: Growing Outbreak: Romaine Lettuce Linked To 67 Cases Of, CDC Warns. NBC Nightly News (July 2022).


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