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Ontario E Coli Outbreak Over; Source Was NOT Confirmed

The E. coli outbreak up in Ontario that dates back to October has officially been declared over. It impacted the hammer-head southeast area of Ontario that is closest to the United States.

Health officials tied the outbreak to romaine lettuce, but could not nail down the precise source.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care issued this summary:

"E. coli outbreaks in five health units have been declared over since the risk of ongoing transmission appears to have ended. The last date of onset for a confirmed case was November 6, 2008.

"Listed below is the updated number of cases for each of the five public health units, as of Friday, December 5, 2008 :

Total Cases

Confirmed Cases

Probable Cases (*)





















(*) – Probable cases will never be reclassified as confirmed cases, as confirmed cases require laboratory confirmation and a PFGE pattern (DNA fingerprint) that matches the outbreak pattern. Laboratory confirmation or PFGE patterns were not obtained for these cases for reasons such as recovery from illness before samples were taken.

  • The source (or sources) of E. coli was not confirmed.
  • It’s important to wash fresh fruits and vegetables with clean running water to remove any surface dirt, sand and harmful organisms. Soaking in a big bowl of water is not recommended.
  • Products that have been labelled as pre-washed should be washed again at home.
  • There are about 350 cases of E. coli O157:H7 each year in Ontario.

For more from the Ministry, go here.

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