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Alberta Health Services investigating 122 cases of E. coli

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 6:58 PM - Alberta Health Services is investigating the cause of 122 cases of E. coli that have popped up in the province over the past month.

According to the Edmonton Journal, 59 cases had been confirmed in Calgary and 48 in Edmonton since July 15 -- with 16 additional cases spread out over southern, central and northern Alberta.

The source of the contamination hasn't been identified and officials haven't confirmed whether or not the cases are linked.

Earlier this month several patients were admitted to Edmonton hospitals suffering from E. coli poisoning after ingesting contaminated bean sprouts.

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"Escherichia coli, usually called E. coli, refers to a large group of bacteria that is commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals," the Public Health Agency of Canada says on its website.

"Most strains of E. coli are harmless; however, some strains, such as E. coli O157: H7, can make people sick, causing severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Serious complications of an E. coli O157:H7 infection can include kidney failure."

E. coli bacteria can be killed by cooking beef to at least 160F, by thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables prior to eating and by washing hands that have been in contact with raw meat. 

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