Thursday, October 23, 2008

North Bay E. coli O157:H7 Victim Hospitalized in Serious Condition

North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit announced today that one of the victims of the Harvey's Restaurant outbreak – a child – is hospitalized in serious condition with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

The child is one of 207 confirmed and suspect cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness, most of them traced to customers who ate at Harvey's Restaurant on Algonquin Avenue in North Bay, Ontario between October 1st and October 12th. Thirty-nine of the victims have been lab-confirmed.

Investigators have not yet determined a probable source of the pathogen. The District Health Unit has asked customers of Harvey's Restaurant, who ate there between October 1st and October 12th and remained healthy, to participate in an epidemiological interview. The interviews will help the District Health Unit to identify possible sources of the outbreak.

There is still no report from the Health Unit as to the results of genetic fingerprinting of the E. coli O157:H7 isolates that have been recovered from patients. This information, too, may help investigators to key in on a source.

At last report, eight other District Health Units in Ontario have reported one or more possible victims of this outbreak. One case also has been reported from Québec. Under the circumstances, it's surprising that the Ontario Ministry of Health hasn't taken a more active role in reporting the status of the outbreak investigation.

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