CANADA: E. coli found in several rural Alberta areas
Posted: June 26th, 2012 - 10:16am
Source: CBC News
A Calgary lab executive is warning that Alberta could be the next location of an E. coli outbreak.
Chris Bolton, CEO of Benchmark Labs, has found E. coli O157 — the pathogen that led to the deaths of seven people in Walkerton, Ont., 12 years ago — in several spots across southern Alberta.
He worries an Alberta community could be the next Walkerton, and says too many cattle operations are doing too little to keep their manure runoff out of the waterways.
"There doesn't seem to be any containment between the open livestock pens, the dairy barns and the other facilities that are here, and they slope directly down to the canal," Bolton said.
Over the past two years, Bolton has found E. coli O157, high coliform counts and salmonella in irrigation canals.
The Alberta Beef Producers, an industry group, however, said E. coli is naturally occurring and it's unfair to blame cattle producers for the higher than average rates of infection in the province.
They added that wildlife feces is a potential source of the pathogen.