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Friday, August 17, 2012

Death toll from E-Coli O157 bacteria poisoning rises to 6, Japan

SAPPORO -- The E. coli O157 food poisoning outbreak in Hokkaido has claimed the lives of three elderly women, raising the death toll from the dangerous bacteria poisoning to six, local health officials said Aug. 16.

The Hokkaido Prefectural Government and the City of Sapporo said that two women in their 90s within the jurisdiction of the Ebetsu health center as well as a Sapporo woman in her 80s died.

The Sapporo government said the death of a 4-year-old girl on Aug. 11 was due to E. coli 0157 infection, and DNA tests matched the bacteria to that discovered in pickled Chinese cabbage, found to be the source of the mass food poisoning. The pickles were produced by Iwai Shokuhin, a food company in Sapporo's Nishi Ward.

The Ebetsu health center said the two women in their 90s were residents of the same facility for the elderly and consumed the cabbage at breakfast on Aug. 1. The woman in Sapporo also lived in a home for the elderly, where she ate the cabbage on Aug. 1.

The 4-year-old girl's grandfather, 63, told the Mainichi Shimbun and other news organizations on Aug. 16 that she lived with her parents and her 6-year-old brother and often ate pickled vegetables.

She fell ill in the evening of Aug. 5 and was taken to a nearby hospital the following day, her grandfather said, adding that she was then taken to another hospital on Aug. 7, where she was diagnosed as having no toxic bacteria. Read More