Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for October 29, 2012

Investigation of illness does rule out E. coli

The Yukon’s chief medical health officer says suspicions about a case of E. coli from steak purchased locally last week were followed up but ruled out.

By Whitehorse Star on October 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm


Photo by Whitehorse Star

Brendan Hanley

The Yukon’s chief medical health officer says suspicions about a case of E. coli from steak purchased locally last week were followed up but ruled out.

Dr. Brendan Hanley said today that when a case is referred to his office by staff from the emergency ward at Whitehorse General Hospital, the matter is investigated.

While not able to discuss details of the specific case, Hanley did say environmental health staff followed procedure but determined there was no requirement to request a stool sample that could be sent Outside to test for E. coli.

Hanley, who was out of his office and unavailable to comment when the case arose last week, said health officials consider a variety of factors when they’re asked to look closer at a case, including the chain of events.

Jacqueline Shorty said in an interview last week her mother, Emma, became very ill last Wednesday afternoon after having eaten blade steak for dinner the night before.
Shorty said the emergency room doctor was very direct when he called it a case of E. coli. The doctor, she said, did take blood and urine samples, and examined the vomit.
She said her mother’s condition improved as the evening went along.

Hanley said he doesn’t know what was or wasn’t said between the doctor and the patient, and cannot comment in any case.

E. coli, said Hanley, normally takes three to eight days of incubation before an individual becomes sick.

Symptoms don’t come on quickly, then disappear as quickly as they came on, he said.

Hanley said there are specific circumstances which would prompt health officials to request a stool sample for testing, though no such request was made last week.

There are a number of bugs that can cause vomiting and diaherea, the medical health officer pointed out.

Hanley said nothing in this story reported by the Star last Thursday would make him think it was a case of E. coli.

E. coli, he confirmed, can only be confirmed by tests on a stool sample.

There have been no confirmed cases of E. coli in the Yukon for several months, Hanley said.

Canada went through its largest recall of beef products in September following an outbreak of E. coli originating at a large slaughterhouse in Alberta.

XL Foods had its operating licence suspended as a result, but had it returned last week after addressing issues raised by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

By Chuck Tobin
Star Reporter

CommentsAdd a comment

June Jackson

Oct 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I’m not surprised.

**Pat T.  thank you kindly for the additional comment to my original post.. you are quite right and serves us all to be reminded of that.

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