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E. coli outbreak kills 1, hospitalizes 3 in B.C.

09/17/2013 06:32 EDT | Updated 11/17/2013 05:12 EST
One person has died and three people were hospitalized in B.C. after eating products from Gort’s Cheese of Salmon Arm that were tainted with E. coli, health authorities have confirmed

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Interior Health issued a public alert on Tuesday saying, "Anyone with Gort’s cheese products at home or at retail should immediately dispose of this product.

"It is believed that this cheese product is distributed throughout the province. The farm operator has also agreed to halt any further shipments of cheese products and to stop selling cheese to the public at the farm," said the alert.

One person is still recovering in hospital, said epidemiologist Dr. Eleni Galanis. Another four cases in the province are under investigation.

The illnesses began in July, with the majority of infected people displaying symptoms in late August to early September.

Officials advise that if you have eaten this cheese and feel well, there is no need to do anything further. But if you have eaten this cheese within the last 10 days and have severe diarrhea or feel very sick, see your health-care provider.

- E. coli is a germ, or bacterium, that infects the digestive tract of animals.

- There are many types of E. coli, and most of them are harmless. But some can cause severe illness, even death.

- E. coli O157:H7 can cause stomach cramps and mild to severe diarrhea that can be bloody.

- Symptoms start two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria, and usually last between five to 10 days.

- For more information on E. coli and its health risks, visit the BCCDC website.

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