Northern Ontario E. coli outbreak leaves child in critical condition

Last Updated: Friday, October 24, 2008 | 4:35 PM ET

CBC News
Source of Article:

A child infected with a dangerous strain of E. coli was in critical condition Friday, health officials in North Bay said, as they delivered the latest information on the city's outbreak.

The number of people reporting symptoms increased to 209, up two from Thursday. The total includes 39 laboratory confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7, from eight health units in Ontario and one in Quebec, health officials said.

"Our thoughts go out to all those who are dealing with illness from E. coli, especially the family with their child who is in critical condition in hospital with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)," said Dr. Catherine Whiting, medical officer of health for the North Bay area.

The child, who is less than 15 years old but not an infant, is being treated at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, said health officials. No other details were provided.

There could be more cases of HUS or other complications, Whiting said.

HUS, which can result in kidney failure, occurs in three to five per cent of those infected with the E. coli strain, and up to 15 per cent among children under 10 who are infected, the North Bay health unit said on its website.

The health unit said symptoms of HUS include:

  • Irritability.
  • Fatigue.
  • Puffiness around the eyes and ankles.
  • A decrease in the amount of urine produced.

The child is a secondary case, meaning he or she contracted the bacteria from someone sickened with E. coli O157:H7.

Health officials ordered the Harvey's restaurant on Algonquin Avenue in North Bay closed on Oct. 12 after linking it the outbreak.

The investigation to find the source continues.

Also on Friday, a class action lawsuit was launched against the company that owns Harvey's.

In a statement of claim filed in court, two people who live in the North Bay area allege they were infected with E. coli after eating at the Harvey's and had to pay expenses associated with the illness.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Cara Operations Ltd., owner of Harvey's, was not immediately available for comment.

With files from Canadian Press



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