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Some demographics more vulnerable to E. coli infection

These Gort's Gouda raw milk cheeses have been recalled. Familiarize yourself with the packaging, and be sure to empty your fridge of any affected products.
Image Credit: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
September 19, 2013 - 5:33 PM

VERNON - Seniors and children may be more at risk of suffering adverse effects from eating E. coli laced foods.

The Interior Health Authority confirmed today that a person who ate contaminated Gort’s Gouda cheese and died directly of the infection was an elderly woman.

Dr. Rob Parker, with IHA, says seniors “are more likely to suffer a worse outcome” than other age groups who ingest the E. coli bacteria, as are children. These two groups are also at a higher risk of kidney failure.

While seniors and children are most vulnerable, Parker says “in this outbreak we’ve seen all ages.” Some people who consume the bacteria might not get sick at all.

“They may have been exposed previously and got some immunity, or only get mild (symptoms),” Parker says. “Most people will recover.”

The E. coli bacteria, which originates in the intestines of cattle and other livestock, can be transmitted to humans through food, water, and even petting zoos if you forget to wash your hands.

“It doesn’t take very much of the bacterial cells to cause an infection,” Parker says. “It (has) a high infection rate.”

The number of people getting sick from E. coli has been greatly reduced over the past 20 years as consumers and restaurants became more informed about the importance of cooking beef — the main source — all the way through, Parker says. Yet there continue to be outbreaks of the bacteria in industries where animal waste exists.

Symptoms typically show up 2-4 days after ingestion, but can take as long as ten. If you ate the cheese more than ten days ago, chances are you’re in the clear.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled 14 Gort’s Gouda cheeses, and is in the process of inspecting the cheese farm to determine where the contamination came from. There are ten other confirmed cases of infection, and several more under investigation in B.C. and Alberta.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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