British Columbia health officials have issued a public alert not to consume Gort’s cheese products after four confirmed and four potential cases of E. coli O157:H7 surfaced there since July. One person hospitalized with symptoms of E. coli infection reportedly died in August, according to a Tuesday story in the Vancouver Sun, and another seven others sickened in Alberta have been connected with the B.C. outbreak. The problem was linked to Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm, B.C., which stopped selling and shipping all of its cheese products as of Saturday, Sept. 14. According to the company’s website, Gort’s does not ship cheese products to the United States. Health officials with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) were not initially aware there was an E. coli outbreak until a cluster of cases was confirmed in late August. “We couldn’t pick (the E. coli problem) up in July or early August because the number of people infected was very low,” said Dr. Eleni Galanis, a BCCDC epidemiologist. She added that anyone who had eaten Gort’s cheese products in the past 10 days and had severe diarrhea or felt very ill should see a doctor, and that anyone with uneaten Gort’s cheese products at home should discard them. E. coli is a bacterium which infects the digestive tract. It can cause stomach cramps and mild to severe diarrhea, and, in some cases, can lead to life-threatening kidney problems and even death. There is more information about the risks of E. coli on the BCCDC website.