August 1, 2014 3:34 pm
Updated: August 1, 2014 9:31 pm

UPDATE: AHS confirms 24 cases of E. coli in two weeks


WATCH ABOVE: In just the past couple of weeks, 24 new cases of E. coli have been confirmed in the Edmonton zone. Kendra Slugoski spoke to health officials.

EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services is urging people to take extra precautions this long weekend following a recent cluster of an E. coli strain reported in the Edmonton Zone.

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AHS says, of the 24 E. coli cases confirmed in the last two weeks, 21 are possibly connected to contaminated bean sprouts.  Officials say the bean sprouts were from a local supplier that provides the product to restaurants and grocery stores.

Five people have been hospitalized.  Some patients exhibited symptoms after eating at restaurants.

AHS is still investigating, but believes the E. coli was limited to one batch of sprouts.

“At this point, we believe that there is no further risk to the public due to the short shelf-life of these particular vegetables,” said Dr. Chris Sikora, AHS’ medical officer of health for the Edmonton Zone.

“But we’re reminding people to be aware of the risks of E. coli…I would encourage everyone to wash their fruits and vegetables prior to consumption.”

At this time in 2013, there were 10 cases of E. coli recorded, and a total of 20 all year.

E. coli is a type of germ or bacterium that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals.

There are many types of E. coli and, while most of them are harmless, some strains can cause illness and abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Some strains can cause more serious illness, including severe anemia or kidney failure.

Here are some ways you can avoid E. coli:

– Cook beef to at least 71 degrees Celsius
– Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them
– Wash your hands when you’re in the kitchen, especially when handling raw meat
– Wash any tools and kitchen surfaces that have touched raw meat

If you believe you may have contracted E. coli, call the Alberta Health Link at 1-866-408-5465.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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