While most of the victims are in North Bay, an unspecified number of the 131 cases have been reported from four other health districts. The Algoma, Porcupine and Sudbury Health Units all are investigating illnesses that may be related to this outbreak.
Although the outbreak has been traced to a specific restaurant – Harvey's – in North Bay, there is no news yet as to the source of the E. coli O157:H7. The restaurant has been closed since Sunday evening, and restaurant employees are cooperating in the investigation.
Although most healthy adults can shrug off an infection with E. coli O157:H7 as an unpleasant inconvenience, children are especially at risk of both short-term complications – hemolytic uremic syndrome – and long-term chronic aftereffects.
E. coli O157:H7 is not to be taken lightly, especially when it strikes children and the elderly. A follow-up study of victims of the Walkerton, Ontario E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was just released. The seven-year study found that 22 children who were infected in 2000 developed permanent kidney damage. Anyone who experiences symptoms consistent with E. coli O157:H7, including diarrhea – especially bloody diarrhea – stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, should be seen by a doctor without delay.