September 22, 2013 by Linda Larsen
The Public Health Agency of Canada says that now fourteen cases of E. coli O157:H7 are associated with contaminated raw milk cheese products manufactured by Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. There are four people who are ill in British Columbia; eight in Alberta; one in Saskatchewan; and one in Quebec. One person in British Columbia has died as a result of this infection.
Ill persons started getting sick between mid-July and early September. Some of Gort’s raw milk cheeses have been recalled as a result of this outbreak. The statement said that “there is currently no indication of widespread risk to Canadians. However, E. coli O157:H7 can pose a serious public health risk. Additional cases of illness may be identified and linked to this outbreak in the future.”
Do not eat any of the recalled product. Check your fridge; if you have any, return it to the place of purchase or throw it out.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, which is often watery and/or bloody, vomiting, and fever. About 5 to 10% of those who contract this infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which destroys the kidneys and can be fatal.
To protect yourself, proper hygiene and safe food handling is important at all times. Avoid undercooked meats, raw milk, undercooked eggs, and do not prepare food for others if you have any GI symptoms.