|E. coli. (Wikimedia Commons/NIAID/HO) |
An E. coli outbreak in Atlantic Canada has now been linked to Ontario.
Five of 10 cases being investigated in Nova Scotia and all six cases in New Brunswick are connected to four cases in Ontario, the Public Health Agency of Canada said.
“Based on the ongoing epidemiological and microbiological investigations conducted to date, it is likely that the people involved all got sick from the same source,” PHAC said in a statement.
Specimens from the five remaining N.S. cases have been sent to Winnipeg for analysis to determine whether they too are connected.
N.S. Health officials said Monday they’d narrowed down the source of the contamination to some kind of processed food that is widely distributed, likely through restaurants.
All patients in that province, who range between 18 and 83 years of age, have either recovered or are recovering, including one person who suffered acute kidney failure.
It was not immediately clear what the condition of the other patients was, PHAC saying only “The majority of cases are recovered or are recovering.”
One patient is four years old, according to PHAC’s data.
E. coli food-borne illnesses are not uncommon in Canada, PHAC said, adding an average of about 440 cases are reported each year.
Symptoms of infection include abdominal pain and severe cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Some people may develop kidney problems or even permanent kidney damage. Some will develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be fatal.
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