E coli – Canada

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E.coli O157 illness linked to an outbreak in Alberta and Saskatchewan providence in Canada

13 individuals in Alberta and 1 individual in Saskatchewan became sick in early December 2021 and early January 2022. No deaths have been reported. Ages of infected are 0-61, 64 % of cases are female. Infection is liked to Hankook brand Kimichi products that were distributed in British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and has since been recalled.

Individuals reported becoming sick after eating Hankook brand Orginal Kimchi before their illness occurred.

Authorities have communicated not to eat, use sell or serve the recalled kimchi or any products made with the recalled kimchi.

Photo: E coli at 10 000 x magnification.

Some strains of E. coli are harmful. Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) and verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) are strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli that produce either Shiga toxin or Shiga-like toxin (verotoxin). Only a minority of the strains cause illness in humans. These are collectively known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).

They are a major cause of foodborne-illness. When infecting humans, they often cause gastroenteritis, enterocolitis, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes cause a severe complication called hemolytic-uremic syndrome.

After eating contaminated food, the first symptoms of infection can emerge anywhere from 1 to 10 days later, but usually after 3 to 4 days. These early symptoms can include diarrhea (which is often bloody), stomach cramps, mild fever, or vomiting that results in dehydration and reduced urine. Hemolytic uremic syndrome typically develops about 5 to 10 days after the first symptoms, but can take up to 3 weeks to manifest, and occurs at a time when the diarrhea is improving.

The country with the highest incidence of hemolytic-uremic syndrome is Argentina. But it can occur in frequently large outbreaks in any country.

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