Two cases of E. coli in Chatham-Kent linked to U.S. outbreak

    TORONTO, Oct. 3 /CNW/ -


    Dr. David Williams, Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health is issuing a
public alert about two E. coli O157:H7 cases that are thought to be linked to
iceberg lettuce that has been distributed in Ontario.
    Test results show that two cases in Chatham-Kent are of the same strain
of E. coli O157:H7 identified in 38 cases in the United States. All of the
cases are thought to be linked to shredded iceberg lettuce distributed by Aunt
Mid's Produce Company. This product is distributed in five pound industrial
bags to institutions such as hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as
restaurants in southwestern Ontario.
    Due to the potential risks associated with this product, all public
health units have been asked to:

    -   Contact all hospitals, long-term care homes and other institutions to
        verify if the product has been used in the last month and to place
        any remaining product on hold.
    -   Send any unopened packages to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term
        Care's Central Public Health Lab for testing.
    -   Instruct all hospitals and institutions to stop all use of this
        product until further notice.

    In addition, public health units in southwestern Ontario are contacting
specific restaurants that may have received the product and asking them to
place it on hold.
    The lettuce was last distributed in Ontario on September 26, 2008. Since
the product has a 12-day shelf-life it could still be in use.
    The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is working with the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency on this investigation.
    E. coli O157:H7 may cause serious gastroenteritis, most often with
symptoms of diarrhea, and often accompanied by other symptoms including
vomiting, and dehydration. The main concern with E. coli O157:H7 diarrhea is
that approximately two-to-seven percent of individuals develop Hemolytic
Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is a life threatening disease of the kidneys and
circulatory system that requires extensive medical treatment. The individuals
usually affected are children under five years of age and the elderly.


    Find out more about E. coli

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For further information:

For further information: For public inquires call ServiceOntario,
INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only); Media Contact: Mark
Nesbitt, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197

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