Published Date: 2003-02-02 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> E. coli O157 - Canada (Ontario) (02)
Archive Number: 20030202.0290
E. COLI O157 - CANADA (ONTARIO) (02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 31 Jan 2003
From: H. Larry Penning <email@example.com>
Source: The Toronto Star, 30 Jan 2003 [edited]
Haggis one of 4 suspects in _E. coli_ outbreak
Haggis has emerged as the prime suspect after contaminated food sparked an
_E. coli_ outbreak. 55 people have reported stomach pain, fever, vomiting,
and diarrhea, some with blood in it -- all symptoms of _E. coli_
infection -- after a Robert Burns celebration at the Polish Alliance Hall 18
Jan 2003. 5 cases have been confirmed by laboratory tests, and a dozen more
stool samples are expected to come back with positive results, said Dr.
Monir Taha, associate medical officer of health. 9 people were admitted to
hospital or required treatment in an emergency room.
Public health inspectors started with a list of dozens of potential food and
drink contaminants. They've now cut the list down to 4 "risk items": haggis,
white wine, milk, and roast beef, in that order. To get to the final 4, 218
people were questioned on what they ate and how they felt afterward. Food
and drink samples have been sent to the Ontario public health lab in Toronto
to test for traces of the bacteria, Taha said. Results haven't come back
Taha emphasized the source has not been confirmed. The 4 foodstuffs are all
"risk items" and "aren't far apart" from one another in their ranking. Some
items on the public health list come from the hall's menu. Helen Glogowski,
a Polish Alliance Hall club spokesperson, believes haggis is the culprit.
She emphasized the Scottish delicacy was not made on site. Members of the
Tartan Club, who organized the Burns celebration, brought 8 aluminum trays
filled with pre-made haggis into the club that day.
Glogowski said staff were instructed on how to re-heat the cold haggis, a
potpourri of animal organs, including heart, liver, and tongue, mixed with
onions, suet, oatmeal, and seasonings. Kitchen staff followed the heating
instructions they were given, Glogowski said.
Municipal food inspectors checked the kitchen 16 Jan 2003, 2 days before the
outbreak, and found no health code violations. 2 days of inspections earlier
this week also came out clear.
_E. coli_ can be transmitted to humans through meat that is raw or
undercooked. Taha said a contaminant could be frozen in meat, but with
thorough cooking at the proper temperature, that shouldn't be a problem.
[Byline: Monique Beech]