FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health is investigating five recent confirmed cases of E. coli 0157 in New Brunswick.

Two cases were reported in the Saint John region and three more were reported in the Fredericton region. All the cases were seen in hospital emergency rooms with one individual admitted to hospital and the other four patients released.

“At this time, we do not know if the cases have a common source,” said Dr. Eilish Cleary, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “A number of sources are being investigated and we are still gathering information. It is very important that New Brunswickers wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and take food safety precautions.”

These precautions include washing or peeling all raw vegetables and fruits before eating. It is important to thoroughly cook all meats (meat, poultry and seafood) and to prevent contact between cooked foods and raw poultry and other meats. New Brunswickers are also advised to only drink and eat pasteurized dairy products.

Symptoms of E. coli 0157 resemble gastro-intestinal illness, such as severe cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal pain and vomiting. Some people may develop anemia and kidney problems.

Cleary said anyone experiencing symptoms compatible with E.coli O157 should seek advice from their health care provider and should follow good hygiene practices to prevent further spread of this infection.