FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, July 11 (UPI) -- Three people hospitalized with E. coli bacteria in New Brunswick are too sick to answer public health questions in search of the source, officials said.
Last week, four people were confirmed to have the potentially deadly abdominal infection in the Fredericton area and three of them are now in hospitals, CTV News said.
However, provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Denis Allard told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. as important as it is to try and determine the contamination source, the 18-page questionnaire was proving too much for the three hospitalized patients.
"You can imagine that when some people are sick, not feeling well, sometimes it may take more than one session to administer the questionnaire fully to find out all the range of foods they may have eaten in the past week," he told the CBC.
This particular strain of the Escherichia coli bacteria is E. coli O157:H7, which infected 13 people elsewhere in the province in April, CTV said.
It's also the same strain that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ontario, in 2000 when the town water supply was contaminated by fecal runoff from pastures, the CBC said.
The simplest prevention against E. coli is thorough washing of fruits and vegetables and handwashing, officials say.