27 suspect with E. coli O157 in NB; 8 hospitalized

Health officials in New Brunswick say they have some leads in their search for the source of an E. coli outbreak that they believe has left people ill in three communities.

However, a spokeswoman for the Health Department said Saturday there’s, “still no clear evidence of the source of the outbreak.”

Jennifer Graham says in an email that 27 cases of bloody diarrhea suspected to be caused by E. coli have been reported since Tuesday.

The first person began showing symptoms on April 23 and as of Friday night 23 cases were reported in Miramichi, two in Saint John and two in Bathurst.

So far, 11 cases have tested positive as E. coli O157; 14 people have been hospitalized, eight of whom remain in hospital.

New Brunswick gets an average of 12 cases of E. coli per year. Dr. Eilish Cleary, the provinces’s chief medical officer of health (left), issued a statement on Friday confirming the E. coli outbreak.

Dr. Denis Allard, the province’s deputy chief medical officer for health, said there is no clear evidence yet that points to a source for the outbreak, but they do have some leads.

"Some of them are related — either family or friends — and some of them have eaten in common places," Allard said in an interview Friday.

"But it doesn’t point to just a single restaurant or a single food at this stage."