Maybe water shouldn’t be bought from a place named, ‘Hunky Bill’s;’ PNE employee hospitalized after drinking spiked bottle of water

A Pacific National Exhibition employee – that’s like the state fair they have in Vancouver, which is in Canada — was hospitalized Thursday night after buying and drinking a bottle of water at the fair tainted with what is thought to be ammonium chloride.

The Vancouver Sun reports that just after 11 p.m. Thursday, the PNE employee experienced dizziness and muscle weakness and was taken to hospital 30 minutes after drinking a bottle of water from Hunky Bill’s concession inside the fair, Vancouver Police spokeswoman Jana McGuinness said in a press release.

Upon later inspection, it was apparent that the bottle of Dasani water contained small holes where a syringe had apparently been inserted and the substance injected in what PNE spokeswoman Laura Ballance called a single isolated incident.

The Vancouver Police Department is investigating the incident and, according to Vancouver Coastal Health spokeswoman Anna Marie D’Angelo, there have been no other reports of similar illnesses to Vancouver Coastal Health at this time.

Mother of Canadian E. coli toddler questions E. coli response at BC petting zoo

The number of E. coli cases believed to be linked to the PNE has climbed from 13 last week to 18, and the mother of one sick child is questioning health officials’ response.

Coquitlam, B.C., mother Caroline Neitzel says her 14-month-old daughter, Jacklyn (right), was infected with E. coli after a visit to the annual Vancouver fair on Sept. 5.

Neitzel said her daughter touched a number of different animals at the petting farm. She said she did her best to wipe her daughter’s hands with wet wipes during that visit.

Despite her efforts, Jacklyn became very ill. At first doctors thought the toddler had the flu. Jacklyn was sent home twice before being admitted to Royal Columbian Hospital, according to her family.

"By that time, her eyes were rolling into the back of her head. She was just so lethargic," Neitzel told CTV News on Friday.

The toddler spent four days in hospital. Neitzel said she thinks her daughter would have been diagnosed earlier if health officials had issued a public warning when a cluster of E. coli cases was discovered.

Anna Marie D’Angelo, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Coastal Health, said the public was not alerted because there was no risk at the time.

"We became aware of the situation three days after the PNE had closed. So there was no risk to any future people getting this E. coli," she said.

Health officials say an alert would not have changed how a patient was treated at the hospital.

The PNE says E. coli has never been a problem in the past at the petting farm and that the fair has stringent hygiene measures in place, including signs and staff directing visitors to hand-washing stations.

More kids sick at petting zoo, this time in Vancouver; health type says no need to announce outbreak

Tragically following the mother country, the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver (that’s Canada) is reporting that 11 children and two adults came down with E. coli days after visiting the petting zoo at the PNE this summer.

The story triumphantly declares that it was the first time the PNE has been linked to cases of E. coli since the agricultural fair opened in 1910.

One child remained in hospital Tuesday in fair condition and two children have been sent home. The ages of the victims ranged from 21 months to 69 years.

Vancouver’s PNE and its petting zoo with sheep, goats, horses and a donkey were open from Aug. 22 to Sept. 7.

Dr. John Carsley, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, said officials did not announce the outbreak of E. coli.

“An announcement would have been pointless. No one was at risk to be infected after the PNE closed and, if someone was exposed to the germ but has not yet fallen ill, there is nothing that could be done to prevent an outbreak of the illness. If you have nothing to offer people, what are you going to tell them?”

The majority of people who went into the barn and were exposed to the germs were at no risk, he also said. “So you are basically scaring an enormous amount of people and telling them, you might have been exposed to a potentially fatal illness about which you can do nothing.”

Tell them to be careful when going to petting zoos. Inform them of the risk. Try not to be a tool.