An outbreak of bacteria at Gort's Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm, B.C., has been blamed for an elderly B.C. woman's death and a rash of illnesses across other provinces since the beginning of July.
Most of those who became ill began displaying symptoms in late August and September, and the number of cases under investigation now totals 21.
Since Saturday, another five cases in B.C. have been added to the list of illnesses under investigation, along with another case in Alberta and one case, the first, in Manitoba.
On Sept. 17, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Gort's Gouda Cheese Farm initiated a recall of 15 raw-milk cheese products that were sold either online, at the Gort's farm, or elsewhere in B.C. and Alberta between May 27 and Sept. 14.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a recent alert the symptoms of an E. coli infection "mainly involve the gut" and can include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever over the course of five to 10 days.
Around five to 10 per cent of those who become ill due to E. coli develop kidney complications that can include acute renal failure, which is sometimes fatal. Young children and the elderly are at the greatest risk of developing complications involving the kidneys, the agency says.
Two separate warnings have been issued by the CFIA in connection with the recent E. coli outbreak:
- Mild Gouda cheese sold in packages of various sizes bearing a red "Raw" sticker, sold at certain retail stores in B.C. and via the Internet from May 27 to Sept. 14, 2013
- All sizes of the raw milk cheeses sold at the manufacturer's outlet, at retail stores in Alberta and B.C., and via the internet from May 27 to Sept. 14. They are:
- Medium Gouda Cheese Quaso de Prato.
- Aged Quaso de Prato.
- X Aged Quaso de Prato.
- Cumin Quaso de Prato.
- Greek Blend: Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Pepper, Thyme, Oregano Quaso de Prato.
- Gouda Cheese with Jalapeno Peppers Quaso de Prato.
- Smoked Gouda Cheese Quaso de Prato.
- Gouda Cheese with Red Peppers, Ginger, Onions & Garlic Quaso de Prato.
- Peppercorn, Ginger, Paprika, Onion & Garlic Quaso de Prato.
- Parsley, Celery, Onion, Garlic, Dill & Chives Quaso de Prato.