E. coli outbreak investigation ongoing in Edmonton

March 29, 2018

EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services (AHS) Environmental Public Health in Edmonton is investigating to determine the source of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7.

While the investigation into the exact cause is ongoing, this week there have been five lab-confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection in the Edmonton Zone involving people who consumed food from Mama Nita’s Binalot (1519 Lakewood Rd).

As a precaution, anyone who ate at this restaurant on March 15, 2018, onwards is asked to monitor themselves for symptoms. The predominant symptom associated with E. coli O157:H7 is diarrhea, which may be bloody. In more severe forms of the disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome (a form of kidney failure) can develop.

Symptoms usually start one to 10 days after eating food contaminated with E. coli bacteria. If you are concerned or start to develop symptoms, please visit a healthcare clinic or your family physician as soon as possible. It’s important that you mention your possible exposure to E. coli O157:H7.

Children, the elderly and the immunocompromised are at greater risk of complications from this strain of E. coli. The majority of individuals who get sick from E. coli O157:H7 will improve on their own within 10 days, but a small proportion may develop complications.

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Health Link to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by dialing 811.

Operators of the restaurant have been cooperative with public health officials. Environmental Public Health inspected the restaurant on March 27 and the investigation is ongoing.

While it is known those individuals identified to date with lab confirmed E. coli O157:H7 ate food from the restaurant, this establishment and/or its worker(s) have not at this time been confirmed as the source. The restaurant has been identified as a precautionary measure with the full cooperation of its operators.

Environmental public health staff are working closely with the restaurant operator and staff to increase safety and reduce risk. These measures include increased hand hygiene measures, food safety re-education for staff and close monitoring of food handling practices.

E. coli infections are generally caused when a person eats food or drinks water that is contaminated with human or animal feces, or through direct contact with a person who is sick or with animals that carry the bacteria.

Albertans should always follow these proper hygiene and safe food handling and preparation practices, to reduce their risk of E. coli infection:

  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water often, including after you go to the washroom, before you prepare food, after you touch raw meat, and after you change diapers.
  • Avoid preparing food for others when ill with diarrhea.
  • Cook beef and pork to at least 71 °C (160 °F).
  • Thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before eating.
  • Thoroughly wash all kitchen tools and surfaces that have touched raw meat.
  • Use only pasteurized milk, dairy, and juice products.

Be sure that water used for drinking or food preparation is from approved sources (including municipal water supply or properly maintained/treated well water).
When you travel to countries that may have unsafe drinking water, don't use ice or drink tap water, and avoid consuming raw fruits and vegetables, except those with skin that you peel yourself.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Sharman Hnatiuk
AHS Communications