Folklorama pavilion linked to E. coli outbreak
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority issued an alert Wednesday about a recent outbreak of E. coli.
Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 16, there were 15 suspected cases and one confirmed case at emergency rooms.
One of the patients remains in urgent care and it's possible more cases could be reported, said health officials.
The majority of the E. coli cases were linked to food eaten at the Russia pavilion at Folklorama during the first week of August, said health officials.
An investigation is underway to determine the source of the outbreak. Pavilion organizers are working with the WRHA to ensure no further transmission occurs.
One organizer said he was shocked by the outbreak.
"I know how much time and effort we put into making sure the regulations are followed," said Darrell Ostrowski, assistant co-ordinator with the Russian pavilion.
Ron Gauthier, executive director of Folklorama, said it's the first time in the festival's 41-year history that an incident of this sort has been reported.
While the pavilion is now closed, the WHRA is warning the public about the possibility of secondary spread and are advising people to always wash their hands carefully with soap after going to the bathroom, after changing soiled diapers and before preparing any meals.
Manitoba's chief public health inspector said all Folklorama pavilions were inspected before and during the festival.
"There was nothing we saw at the time that caused us concern and from our point of view everything was okay. Unfortunately, after the fact, we find out there may have been something happening there," said Mike Leblanc, chief public health inspector.
Prior to the recent outbreak, there had been only nine cases of E. coli in Winnipeg since January.
The most common source of E. coli, also known as hamburger disease, is raw meat products, especially ground beef, said health officials. The public is reminded to ensure proper handling of meat, including cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 71 degrees Celsius and washing hands and surfaces after contact with raw meat.
Symptoms of E. coli can include bloody stool, stomach ache and severe diarrhea. People with the symptoms are encouraged to go to hospital to be tested for E. coli, said health officials.
- with a report from CTV's Laura Lowe