Module 2: Public health alert

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The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba Health Authorities, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases.

A national Outbreak Investigation Coordinating Committee (OICC) was established on Tuesday, July 22, 2014. To date, 6 cases with matching PFGE patterns have been reported in Canada (SK=3, MB=2, AB=1).

Case definitions:

Confirmed case: A resident of or visitor to Canada with

  • Laboratory confirmation of coli O157:H7 AND
  • PFGE pattern combination ECXAI.1398/ECBNI.1212 AND
  • Symptom onset or laboratory confirmation on or after June 1, 2014

Probable case: A resident of or visitor to Canada with

  • Laboratory confirmation of coli O157:H7 AND
  • PFGE pending AND
  • Symptom onset or laboratory confirmation on or after June 1, 2014

Suspect case: A resident of or visitor to Canada with

  • Symptoms* consistent with coli O157:H7 infection AND
  • An epidemiological link to a confirmed case AND
  • Symptom onset on or after June 1, 2014

*Diarrhea (three or more loose stools within 24 hours)

Epidemiological summary:

  • Age range: 7 to 82 years (median age = 31 years)

  • Sex: 67% (4/6) female

  • Onset date range: June 28 to July 4, 2014

In collaboration with provincial and laboratory partners, epidemiological information for the cases is currently being reviewed. Investigations are ongoing to determine the source and the scope of the issue.

Action:

Please report any cases of E. coli O157:H7 with PFGE pattern ECXAI.1398 and/or ECBNI.1212 with symptom onset on or after June 1st, 2014 to your Provincial/Territorial representatives. Provincial Health representatives, in turn, are asked to notify the Outbreak Management Division (OMD) at entericoutbreak@phac-aspc.gc.ca or (519) 555-1234.