E. coli Class Action in Canada
Date Published: Monday, October
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/4087
increasing E.coli outbreak that is linked to the Harvey’s chain restaurant in the North Parry area of Ontario, Canada
has resulted in a 15-year-old girl remaining hospitalized and in serious
condition. There are 209 other suspected cases of E. coli that also
appear to be linked to Harvey’s in North Bay.
Now, the first
reports of a class action suit against Harvey’s are emerging, while the local
health unit there continues to fight off claims it delayed advising the
public which restaurant was involved. The first cases were reported two
weekends ago, said Dr. Catherine Whiting, medical officer of health for the
North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. Although the symptoms,
which include bloody diarrhea, were similar, a common link was not
found. “And then Sunday, a few more cases were reported. At that
time later in the afternoon, we received our first positive lab report,” Dr.
Whiting explained. Soon after, Harvey’s
was found to be the common denominator.
By Tuesday, Dr.
Whiting reported that Harvey’s
was the only link and the area’s public health strategy was finally
implemented. A Ministry of Health spokesman agreed that releasing Harvey’s as the culprit
would not have led to more cases. And, although the health unit
reported a reduction in suspected cases, lab-confirmed cases rose and the
health unit indicated the outbreak was coming to a close; however, cases
continue to increase with two confirmed as secondary. Of the 209 cases
under investigation, 39 are lab-confirmed and victims span eight Ontario health units, with one case being treated in Quebec.
Rick Holley, a
food science researcher at the University
of Manitoba has been
pushing for a national strategy to respond to such outbreaks, questioning why
the specific food source in this E. Coli outbreak has not yet been
isolated. “They don’t have the tools to do the job right. They
don’t have the resources to do it right. And that’s what I think should
be making the people angry,” Professor Holley said. Dr. Whiting said,
“I will grant you that the system, I don’t think, has enough surge capacity”
to deal with major outbreaks.
statement of claim for the class-action lawsuit was filed late last week by
two men seeking $17-million in damages. Both ate at Harvey’s on October 6 and were hospitalized
days later. The men allege Harvey’s
“served food and beverage that was contaminated with E. Coli” and “failed to
act in a manner to prevent exposure to E. Coli at Harvey’s.”
Symptoms of E.
coli infection include stomach cramps and watery diarrhea that may turn
bloody within one to three days. More and more, E. coli is turning up
in produce and water and seems to be sweeping North America in recent months
with outbreaks popping up in a variety of states in the U.S. as well as in Canada. E. coli taints meat
through improper butchering and processing practices and, once released in
the body, produces a type of toxin that has been associated with kidney
damage in young children, and can also lead to kidney failure and death.