Officials seek E. coli link

Grey-Bruce public health officials have tried to find a link in a cluster of genetically similar cases of E. coli 0157 which had sickened eight people over a period of several weeks.

The people who have contracted the bacteria -- the same strain that caused the 2000 tainted water tragedy in Walkerton -- range in age from 6 to 85. Some of the victims were hospitalized, but are now "on the mend, " Newman said. Some were "pretty ill."

Symptoms include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is watery at first but may become bloody. A mild fever may or may not be present. The illness usually lasts 7-10 days. Most people recover without problems but the disease can be more severe in the very young and elderly, the health unit says on it's website. An unusual form of kidney failure called Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome can occur. Anyone exhibiting bloody diarrhea should consult their doctor.

E. coli 0157 bacteria is the most serious strain of E. coli. The toxin damages the lining of the intestines.