Verotoxin-producing E.coli (VTEC) is a disease caused by certain strains of the E.coli bacteria. The most commonly found VTEC in North America is E.coli O157:H7. Symptoms include diarrhea (sometimes bloody) and abdominal pain. Most people recover in 7 to 10 days but some can develop a serious kidney condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). In very severe and rare cases, death can occur. E.coli (VTEC) is spread by consuming contaminated food or water, or through contact with an infected animal or person. For more information, see the health unit’s fact sheet on verotoxin-producing E. coli.
The following graph shows the number of VTEC cases in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000 and 2015. There have been between three and 13 VTEC cases in Simcoe Muskoka every year since 2000. In 2015, four cases of VTEC were reported in Simcoe Muskoka.
The following graph shows the incidence rate of VTEC in Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario between 2000 and 2015. The Simcoe Muskoka incidence rate is similar to the Ontario rate for most years. The E.coli outbreak in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000 caused by the consumption of contaminated drinking water is the reason for the high Ontario rate in that year. In 2015, Simcoe Muskoka had an incidence rate of 0.73 cases per 100,000 population and Ontario’s incidence rate was 1.3 cases per 100,000 population.
There are many factors that influence how many cases are reported to the health unit, as explained on the Infectious Diseases page.
Provincial definitions classify cases as confirmed or probable based on clinical and/or laboratory diagnostic criteria. The provincial case definition for VTEC changed in April 2009 to include a definition for probable cases whereas before there was no such classification. The definitions of confirmed and probable cases from 2009 onwards are comparable to confirmed cases before 2009.