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WRHA Warns of Severe E. Coli Outbreak

August 18, 2010 11:47 AM | News

Petri dish with viral plaques on the lawn of E. Coli recombinant plaques are clear.

A recent E. coli outbreak in emergency departments across the city has forced the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to issue a public warning.

The majority of the cases are associated with food eaten at Folklorama’s Russian Pavilion during the first week of August.

The first outbreak occurred during the first two weeks of August. Fifteen suspected and one confirmed case have turned up between August 1 and 16.

Russian Pavilion organizers are working with the WRHA to ensure that no further transmission occurs.

The WRHA is cautioning the public that even though the pavilion is now closed, there is still a risk of a secondary spread.

The most common sources of E. coli infection are raw meat products, especially ground beef.

Previous to the outbreak, there had been only nine cases in Winnipeg since January.

UPDATE: 11:58 a.m. — Folklorama just sent out a news release responding to the situation themselves.

“We work very closely year round with both the Winnipeg Community Services Public Health Department and the Manitoba Health Protection Unit, as public health and safety are of vital importance to Folklorama,” said executive Ron Gauthier. “This is an anomalous situation. In its 41 years, Folklorama has served approximately 20 million meals without incident, but in light of this investigation, we will review all food handling regulations and measures to look at instituting even stricter standards for our pavilions.”

Folklorama organizers say all food handling at pavilions is in accordance with the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba’s strict regulations.