Health officials in Canada and the U.S. are telling people to avoid eating romaine lettuce because of a new E. coli outbreak.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says the outbreak has sickened 15 people in Quebec and three in Ontario — with six requiring hospitalization.
The agency says the cases were reported between mid-October and early November and those affected were between the ages of five and 93.
It says one person suffered a severe complication that can result from an E. coli infection but no deaths have been reported.
The E. coli strain identified appears similar to one linked to leafy greens last year.
U.S. authorities reported 32 cases of E. coli saying 13 of the people who became sick were hospitalized.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.
The agency says that if the contaminated food products are identified in Canada, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product.
Most E. coli bacteria are benign but some can cause illness, with symptoms including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.
Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.