OTTAWA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Public Health Agency of Canada Tuesday warned Canadians not to eat romaine lettuce because of a new E. coli outbreak in the country and the United States.
The agency said the outbreak has sickened 15 people in Quebec province and three in Ontario province with six requiring hospitalization between mid-October and early November. Those affected were aged between five and 93.
According to the agency, one person suffered a severe complication that can be a result of an E. coli infection. But no deaths have been reported.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it's working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce which those who got ill were exposed to.
The agency stressed that if contaminated food products are identified in Canada, they will take necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the products.
Most E. coli bacteria are benign but some can cause illness, with symptoms including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Usually, the infected can recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.