A total of 21 cases of E. coli infection across Canada have been linked to raw cheese from a Salmon Arm farm, the Public Health Agency of Canada said Monday.
When the outbreak was first reported a week ago, there were just four confirmed cases of the bacterial infection in B.C.
The health agency has now added a case in Quebec to its national tally of nine in B.C., nine in Alberta, and one each in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. However, the federal agency says there is no indication of widespread risk to Canadians.
The outbreak, attributed to Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm, has been blamed for an elderly woman’s death. All other individuals who contracted the infection have recovered or are recovering, PHAC said in a news release. Those people became ill between mid-July and early September.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled 15 raw-milk cheese products sold online, at Gort’s farm and at retail outlets elsewhere in B.C. and Alberta between May 27 to Sept. 14.
Consumers have been warned to discard all cheese from Gort’s.
E. coli is a bacteria that can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhoea, kidney failure and death. Symptoms usually last five to 10 days.
Between five and 10 per cent of those who get sick from the bacterium develop haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), an acute renal failure that can be fatal. Children younger than five and the elderly are at greatest risk of developing HUS.