FREDERICTON (GNB) – An outbreak of E. coli bacteria in New Brunswick is being investigated by Public Health.

"To date, 24 cases of bloody diarrhea suspected to be caused by E. coli have been reported in the province, with 20 in Miramichi, two in Saint John and two in Bathurst," said Dr. Eilish Cleary, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health. “While laboratory testing continues, several cases have been confirmed as E. coli O157:H7, a severe strain that can sometimes cause serious illness.

“Public Health has not yet determined the source of the bacteria. Anyone experiencing bloody diarrhea, a common symptom of E. coli 0157:H7, is urged to see their health-care provider."

Other symptoms of E. coli infections include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever.  

E. coli can be found in a variety of sources, including ground beef, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, untreated water, unpasteurized milk and raw milk products, and unpasteurized apple juice/cider. E. coli can be easily spread from person to person.

Individuals should take the following precautions:  

●    regular hand washing, especially after using the washroom and/or when preparing food;
●    washing fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them;  
●    properly cooking meat; and
●    using warm soapy water or a chlorine-based or other approved sanitizers to clean knives,  cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any counters or surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.

Certain groups are at increased risk of developing serious complications from E. coli infections. These include: pregnant women, young children, seniors, anyone with an underlying medical condition, and anyone with a weakened immune system such as those on chemotherapy.

For additional information individuals may contact a health-care provider, local Public Health office or Tele-Care 8-1-1.

LINK:

●    Department of Health: www.gnb.ca/publichealth