Escherichia coli is a bacterium that normally lives in the gastrointestinal tract, and when it ends up somewhere else, it can wreak havoc. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that a strain of E. coli may be spreading in contaminated lettuce. Canada is currently experiencing a similar outbreak of illnesses related to Shiga toxin, which is made by the E. coli strain O157:H7.
The CDC is awaiting results of genetic sequencing tests that will help confirm whether it is indeed romaine lettuce that is to blame for several illnesses. Cases have been reported in multiple states: "California (3), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1), Vermont (1) and Washington (1)," according to a CDC press release.