Public health searching for cause of E. coli cases

Two confirmed cases, three more suspected in Niagara

Posted By JOHN ROBBINS / Review Staff Writer

Updated 1 day agoSource of Article:



Public health officials are trying to pinpoint the source of a food-borne E. coli outbreak in Niagara.

So far, there are two confirmed and three suspected cases of the potentially serious infection.

Four of the five cases have been linked to food consumed at the Little Red Rooster, a Niagara-on-the-Lake eatery. The restaurant, which is located at 271 Mary St., was voluntarily closed by its owners on Friday.

Dr. Robin Williams, Niagara Region's medical officer of health issued a public advisory Saturday, appealing for anyone with symptoms of E. coli poisoning – such as bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal pain – to come forward in hopes that new information will assist in determining the source.

The nature of incident has prompted public health to broaden its search, including the investigation of other food establishments and distributors, said Glen Hudgin, manager of environmental health.

“The process basically is to find out from the persons who have been ill what their food history is for the last number of days," Hudgin told The Niagara Falls Review, Sunday. "That means that we have in fact gone out to a number of different food premises within the region to look at those facilities and to collect food samples from the items those people would have had in their meals.”

Hudgin could provide no additional information about the victims, except that none of them had been hospitalized.

A call to the Little Red Rooster Sunday afternoon went unanswered.

Public health officials say the restaurant's owners have been co-operating with the investigation, and have provided full access for sampling and inspection since the problem was identified.

It’s not yet known if there’s any connection between these cases and a much larger outbreak in North Bay, Hudgin said.

“We haven’t found any connection at this point, but we continue to look at that (possibility,” Hudgin said.

As of Friday, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit was reporting a total of 209 cases of E. coli – including 39 cases conrfimed by laboratory testing as the potentially deadly E. coli 0157:H7 strain. The outbreak has been linked to a Harvey’s restaurant in Harvey’s in North Bay, but the total case count includes secondary infections, that is to say people who became ill after coming in contact will others already infected with E coli. Eight Ontario public health units have reported cases linked to the North Bay outbreak. There has also been one case reported in Quebec.

As reported in the Niagara Falls Review last week, two Niagara region residents are suspected of having become ill as a result of the North Bay outbreak.

Hudgin said the two individuals from Niagara connected to the North Bay outbreak are not among the five associated with Saturday’s public advisory.

The source of the North Bay outbreak remains unknown at this time.

Anyone who has experienced bloody diarrhea and severe abdominal pain, with or without fever, at anytime from Oct. 11 to the present is asked to contact Niagara Region Public Health at 905-688-8248, ext. 7330 or 905-984-3690 (evenings and weekends).



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