August 16, 2006

E. coli Cases Detected in Region

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is investigating 17 cases of E. coli infection that have occurred in August, ten of them since the beginning of this week. Last month, there were a total of ten cases reported in the Region bringing the total to 42 cases so far this year.

Dr. Margaret Fast, WRHA Medical Officer of Health said the region decided to issue a release for two reasons: the high number of recent cases and the fact that many of them appear to be related to food preparation, not undercooked meat.

Dr. Fast said investigations into the cases reveal that while many of the people involved did ingest hamburger, they reported it was well cooked. "That raises the concern that this may indeed be an issue of food preparation and cross contamination," she said.

Dr. Fast said it was important to ensure:

  • Counter tops and dish clothes are properly and thoroughly cleaned after handling of raw meat products, especially ground beef.
  • Hands are properly washed after the handling of raw meat product, especially before handling other food items (lettuce etc.), which could then become contaminated.
  • Any plates or platters used to transport raw meat to a barbeque are not used after the meat has been cooked, unless they have been thoroughly washed.
  • Any utensils used to handle uncooked meat products are not again used once the meat is cooked unless thoroughly washed.
  • All ground beef is cooked thoroughly so that it is brown throughout and the juices run clear.
  • Everyone, especially children, wash their hands carefully after using the washroom to reduce the risk of spreading disease.

For more information contact:
Heidi Graham                                                                                    
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority                                                     
Tele: (204) 926-7178
Cell: (204) 223-9089     

Related Link

E-coli Fact Sheet

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