E. coli closes 3rd restaurant in southern Ontario

A 50s-style diner in Burlington, Ont., has voluntarily closed as health officials investigated two confirmed and three possible cases of E. coli connected to the restaurant on Friday.

The two confirmed cases originated at Johnathan’s Family Restaurant, at 4121 Fairview St., in Burlington, which is between Toronto and Hamilton.

Health officials are asking anyone who ate at the restaurant between Oct. 13 and Oct. 30, when it was closed, and has gastrointestinal symptoms to call their doctor and Halton Region at 905-825-6000 or toll free 1-866-4HALTON (1-866-442-5866) or TTY 905-827-9833.

E. coli O157:H7 can cause severe diarrhea and kidney damage. Symptoms include diarrhea (possibly bloody), vomiting, severe stomach cramps and fever.

As part of the investigation, produce samples were collected at the restaurant and sent to the Ontario Public Health Laboratories for testing, said Mary Anne Carson, Halton’s director of health protection services.

“Some people may have very mild symptoms, but they can still spread the infection to others,” said Carson, noting that the investigation of possible cases is in its early stages.

“It is important that we follow up with any individuals who have had symptoms.”
Halton, Niagara cases linked

One of the laboratory samples from a case in Halton has matched that of cases from Niagara, Carson said.

On Friday, the Niagara health department said it has investigated 36 cases, including nine confirmed cases of E. coli O157 and 27 that remain under investigation.

As part of the Niagara investigation, 20 cases have been linked to the Little Red Rooster restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake and 12 cases are linked to M.T. Bellies in Welland.

M.T. Bellies voluntarily closed its kitchen on Tuesday. On Oct. 24, the Little Red Rooster restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake closed, also voluntarily, after reports of sickness.

Niagara health officials said the restaurants were closed as a precautionary measure. They are investigating if the restaurants share the same food supplier and checking other possible food sources, establishments and distributors.

“Public Health would like to emphasize this is not a municipal water-related issue,” the Niagara Region said on its website Friday.

Initial tests show that the E. coli strain in Niagara’s cases is different from that of North Bay’s E. coli outbreak.

As of Thursday, North Bay reported 235 cases, of which 45 are lab confirmed for E. coli O157:H7.

All confirmed cases in North Bay’s outbreak are linked to the Harvey’s restaurant in North Bay, including those from nine other health units in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/10/31/e-coli-ont.html

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