‘Razors in my stomach’ The human face of Harvey’s E. coli outbreak

Steve Carleton dubbed himself "Number 6" because when he was overcome with fierce stomach cramps last week and admitted to a northern Ontario hospital, health-care workers started numbering the beds.

While he jokes now that he "beat the rush," the 22-year-old North Bay police constable turns serious when recalling his bout with E. coli during an outbreak that, as of Sunday, may have sickened upwards of 159 people, mostly in his home town.

"It was like I had razor blades rolling around in my stomach, it was so excruciating," Carleton said.

"The pains were enough (that) you couldn’t stay in bed or sit down, because you’d sit down and it’d hit you again and you’d be up and it’d give you that urge and you’d have to run to the washroom again."

Carleton spent four, IV-drip-fuelled days recovering in hospital. He said he had earlier eaten a bacon cheeseburger at one of the busiest Harvey’s restaurants in the area.

"I consider myself pretty fit, and a healthy all around person," said Carleton, who exercises several times a week. "I couldn’t imagine an elderly person, or even a young child, being able to fight their way through it."