Canada: E. coli outbreak victims worried, angry

Last Updated: Monday, October 20, 2008 | 4:52 PM ET

CBC News


Source of Article:

People sickened in an E. coli outbreak in northern Ontario are angry and worried about the long-term effects of the illness.

There are 141 confirmed and suspected cases of E. coli O157:H7 that have been linked to a Harvey's restaurant in North Bay, about 300 kilometres north of Toronto.

Health officials said Monday that they have ruled out 18 suspected cases as not being linked to the outbreak.

Two weeks ago, John Baker ate a hamburger at the restaurant, and after three days he had bloody diarrhea and major stomach cramps.

"It was like eating ... broken glass," said Baker, who was in the hospital for three days and lost 30 pounds. "You just want to go to sleep because you can't stand the pain anymore."

Baker said he feels tired now, but his biggest worry is whether the infection will cause problems such as colitis or kidney failure in the future.

Kelly Fortier, 21, said she is angry at having to put her life on hold since eating at the Harvey's two weeks ago. She was hospitalized for four days and health officials have placed her in isolation, which means she can't go to school or to work.

"I have other things to do, which I can't do," Fortier said. I was upset when I was in hospital, because I thought I was dying. But mainly I'm just angry."

The E. coli outbreak is the largest of its kind since seven people died and about 2,500 others fell ill after drinking contaminated water in Walkerton, Ont., in May 2000.

Last week, doctors following the health of Walkerton residents said people with confirmed severe gastro-enteritis had a 30 per cent increased risk of high blood pressure or kidney damage, but with treatment the condition stabilized.



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