In a follow-up on the multi-province E.coli O121 outbreak in Canada, The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported an additional two cases–one each from British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

E. coli/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
E. coli/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

To date, 14 cases of E.coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint have been reported in three provinces: British Columbia (5), Saskatchewan (4), and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to January 2017.

Five individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

Two of the most common ways to come into contact with E. coli are by improperly handling raw ground meat and by eating ground meat that is undercooked. Common sources of E.coli may also be contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apple juice or cider.

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.