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Woman Sues Over 2010 Folklorama Outbreak

The Folk Arts Council of Winnipeg Inc., also known as Folklorama, and the Russian Pavilion are being sued for lost wages, pain and suffering by 52-year-old Trudy Andrew of Oakbank.

Winnipeg’s Folklorama Festival claims to be the world’s largest and longest running cultural event in the world. Its 2012 run began August 5 and will continue through August18.

Andrew was one of the 40 people who were infected with E. coli O157:H7 between Aug. 9 and Aug 30, 2010 after attending the popular Folklorama event two years ago and visiting the Russian Pavilion.

Andrew told the Winnipeg Free Press that without hospitalization she “wouldn’t have made it.”

Among the 40 people who became sick who attended the 2010 event, which last two weeks, 34 ate at the Russian Pavilion. Three others were children who were left at a daycare center, but who were likely infected by someone who dined at the pavilion.

During the 2010 outbreak, 17 people required emergency treatment and five were hospitalized, including a two-year-old boy who suffered kidney failure and required dialysis.

An investigation by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority determined that a locally made juice called “kompot” was the source of the outbreak. The juice was apparently cross-contaminated with E. coli-laced ground beef.

The kitchen at the Russian Pavilion was cited for deficiencies on the first day of the 2010 event, including for improper ground beef storage and faulty operating temperatures.

Sofia Barklon, coordinator of the Russian Pavilion, has maintained for the past two years that the community center where the pavilion sets up for the show is responsible for the faulty refrigeration equipment.

Barklon says the Russian Pavilion no longer serves meals with ground beef.

Andrew, a self-employed trucker, was hospitalized for eight days, She has been unable to return to work or lead a normal lifestyle as she cannot travel or ride horses as she did before. Her claim was filed in the Queen’s Bench.

Folklorama and the pavilion have not yet responded to Andrew’s lawsuit. She is the only victim from the 2010 outbreak to file a lawsuit.

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