Alberta Health Services is currently investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7. There have been 125 confirmed cases reported between July 15 and August 2o. The investigation has not confirmed the source(s) of illness related to this outbreak, but Dr. Chris Sikora, the Edmonton Zone’s medical officer of health, says that nearly 80 per cent of cases were associated with Asian-style restaurants in Edmonton and Calgary during the last two weeks of July. Sikora told CBC News that the E. coli strain seems to be isolated to Alberta, suggesting that the source could be a locally produced and distributed food. CBC also reports that 17 people have been hospitalized so far. This investigation is ongoing and involves collaboration with Alberta Health, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. E. coli infections are generally caused when a person eats food or drinks water that is contaminated with human or animal feces, or through direct contact with a person who is sick or animals that carry the bacteria. Proper hygiene and safe food handling and preparation practices are key to preventing the spread of E. coli. To reduce the risk of infection, consumers should wash hands with hot, soapy water often; cook beef to at least 160 degrees F; thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before eating; thoroughly wash all kitchen tools and surfaces that have touched raw meat, and use only pasteurized milk, dairy and juice products.