AHS investigating E.coli outbreak in Calgary Zone
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is warning Calgarians to take precautions to reduce the risk of E. coli following 14 confirmed cases in the region including two linked to a pork sausage sold by local retailers.
According to AHS, tests confirm two patients who contracted E.coli O157:H7 had consumed Paolini’s Sausage & Meats Ltd.’s Hungarian Farmer’s Sausage.
"In the preparation of the product it was not processed adequately to be regarded as ready to eat," explains Dr. Judy MacDonald, AHS medical officer of health for the Calgary Zone. "There was probably a misunderstanding, or a lack of understanding, about what to do with this product."
Anyone who purchased Hungarian farmer’s sausage prior to February 2 should treat the sausage as if it contains raw pork and cook to an internal temperature of 71 degrees Celsius. MacDonald says Paolini's provides sausage to more than 20 retailers and the name Paolini may not be evident on the product's packaging.
On February 2, Paolini's Sausage & Meats Ltd. production facility was closed and disinfected.
"Our public health inspectors have been to Paolini's and worked with them around this product to make sure that it is, from this point, the second of February forward, that it's labelled appropriately and that there isn't any misunderstanding," said MacDonald.
There has been no confirmed source linking the other 12 E. coli cases and AHS continues to work to identify potential sources of illness in connection with the outbreak. Of the 14 cases, three patients required hospitalization.
The first case was confirmed on November 25, 2015 and the outbreak was declared January 4, 2016.
To reduce risk of E.coli infection, AHS encourages Albertans to take the following precautions at all times:
- Wash hands with hot, soapy water after touching raw meat or changing diapers
- Wash hands with hot, soapy water before preparing food
- Cook beef and pork to a temperature of 71 C
- Thoroughly wash all vegetables, fruits, kitchen tools, and preparation surfaces
- Use only pasteurized milk, dairy and juice
- Only drink water from approved sources
For additional E.coli O157:H7 information visit MyHealth Alberta