The Canadian Press reports that although the source of where the Safeway meat was contaminated has been identified and eliminated, health officials are saying that it still took more than a month after the first E. coli case was reported before the public was alerted.
Since E. coli can take up to a week before showing symptoms, and another week before lab tests come back confirming that the infection is indeed E. coli, outbreak announcements can be delayed. In the case of provinces, additional tests add another week to that time, making it nearly a month before an alert and recall would occur.
The contamination was traced to Safeway’s Lucerne meat processing plant in Calgary.
All Calgary patients who were infected have since been released. One of the five current E. coli victims in British Columbia remains in hospital in serious condition.