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Public health   Four of the rare O121 cases

Rare strain of E. coli strikes across Canada, source unknown

E. coliA dozen cases of E. coli O121 have been confirmed in three Canadian provinces, according to matching genetic fingerprint data, but the source of the outbreak has not yet been identified.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports four of the rare O121 cases were confirmed in British Columbia, four in Saskatchewan and four in Newfoundland and Labrador. The illness onset dates were in November and December of 2016.

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Four of the victims have been hospitalized. Those individuals have recovered or are in the process of recovery.

An investigation to determine the source of the relatively rare E. coli O121 contamination is ongoing.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says improper handling of ground meat and eating raw ground meat are two of the most common sources of E. coli illnesses.

Other common sources are contaminated raw fruits and vegetables, untreated water, unpasteurized raw milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apples juices or cider.

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