The Cause of Illness that Left 200 Sick has Been Determined
Canada E. coli Still Growing
Date Published: Wednesday,
November 5th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/4141
The potentially dangerous food poisoning
coli appears to be sweeping across areas of Canada
with the number of suspected cases linked to an outbreak in Burlington, Ontario
increasing yesterday. A restaurant near Niagara
is readying to reopen today following its closure over a similar outbreak
Yesterday, the Halton Region
Health Department said officials were investigating 43 suspected E. coli
cases. Just Monday, the figure was at 28. The outbreak appears to
have originated from the Johnathan’s Family
Restaurant in Burlington.
To date, three of the 48 cases are confirmed to be E. coli strain
O157:H7. Also, the “molecular fingerprint” from the Burlington outbreak
matches those in Niagara, in which 47 suspected cases led to the closure of
two restaurants. Twelve of the 47 suspected cases there have since been
confirmed. Both M.T. Bellies restaurant in Welland, Ontario
and the Little Red Rooster restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake have been linked
to 21 cases each of suspected E. coli infection. The remaining five
suspected cases have not yet been linked to any food establishment.
Because the Niagara Region Public Health
announced yesterday that Little Red Rooster had “satisfied all the criteria”
for reopening, its owners announced the restaurant would reopen today.
Dr. Robin Williams, medical officer for Niagara health authority, said the strain of E. coli
O157:H7 was very rare and given that three restaurants in two regions were
infected with the same strain, common food distributors are being
investigated to help locate the infection’s source. Williams noted
that, while the investigation is in early stages, it seems that salad
ingredients are a potential culprit.
A third E. coli outbreak is also ongoing in North Bay, Ontario.
In that outbreak, there are 246 suspected cases of E. coli infection with 49
confirmed cases. That outbreak closed a Harvey’s
fast-food restaurant on October 12 and cases have spanned Quebec,
British Columbia and 10 other districts of Ontario. That
outbreak has not yet been linked to the other ongoing outbreaks and no
contamination source has been identified in any of the cases. The
E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal
intestines and feces and have been known to cause contaminations in meat,
produce, and water supplies. While some E. coli strains are necessary
for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, and toxin-producing and part of a
group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli,
or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E.
coli. Of particular concern is the virulent, sometimes deadly E. coli
O157:H7 strain that is part of this group and that is generally found to be
the culprit in E. coli-related food-borne illness outbreak. E. coli may
cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, and death. In
E. coli is the leading cause of food-borne illness, sickening about 73,000
and killing 61; last year, over 22 million pounds of beef and vegetables were
recalled due to E. coli outbreaks.