Three children's cases of E. coli infection in London 'unusual'

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By THE CANADIAN PRESS 17 hours ago

LONDON, Ont. Three cases of children diagnosed with E. coli infections in less than a week have raised a red flag with health officials in London, Ont.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit said Sunday three cases so close together is out of the ordinary.

"It was the frequency with which we saw them," said Dan Flaherty, the unit's communications manager. "Normally we'd see a couple in a month, but to see three in five days is unusual."

Flaherty added no other cases have been reported since.

In two of the cases, a spiced ground beef dish known as kofta is suspected as playing a role in the illnesses. It was consumed after being purchased from Westmount Halal Food Store in the city on June 14 and 15.

The source of the third child's infection is unknown.

The health unit has advised the public to stay away from ground beef purchased at the independent store, and to ensure all beef is cooked to appropriate temperatures.

The store's manager said he was surprised when employees from the health unit showed up to inspect his premises on Saturday.

"A lot of people might have eaten the same thing, it was just those two kids who complained about it," said Mohammed, who declined to give his last name.

"This is the first time."

The store has been selling their special mix of ground beef, spices and parsley for the past five years and usually goes through more than 20 kilograms of the product daily.

Mohammed said the warning put out by health officials has already caused his business to drop by 60 per cent.

"We depend on selling meat here," he said.

Mohammed said health officers inspecting the store found everything to be in order, but have asked to meet with him again.

Abdominal pain and mild to severe diarrhea are symptoms common to an E. coli infection.







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