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'It's horrible': Woman who suffered E. coli poisoning wants Edmonton restaurant shut down

cbc.ca by Travis McEwan, March 30, 2018

AHS confirmed five cases of E. coli in people who ate at Mama Nita’s Binalot

Nora Romero had the most severe case of stomach illness she's ever experienced last week. Days later she found out it was a severe case of E.coli poisoning.

"I've never had this experience before. It's awful. It's horrible. It's painful. It's uncomfortable, plus I lost two days of work," Romero told CBC News Thursday.

Nora Romero ate leftovers of a Turf Boodle (pictured) from Mama Nita's Binalot. Health officials have said people who got E. coli did not all eat similar foods at the restaurant. (Nora Romero)

On March 20, Romero ate a Turf Boodle Feast from Mama Nita's Binalot in southeast Edmonton. Her daughter had brought her leftovers from a visit to the restaurant the night before.

A few days later Romero started getting stomach aches and diarrhea, she said.

It was tough to hold down any food and water and her stomach was bloated. On March 23, while she was at work, it got worse. She started to suffer pain and the diarrhea was bloody.

"My first four hours I was working, I went to the washroom five times," Romero said. "It was more blood. The pain was unbearable."

She went to the Royal Alexandra Hospital's emergency department, where she was held overnight and given morphine for the pain.

After providing a stool sample she was notified days later that she tested positive for E.coli.

She had an idea it might be E. coli because she knew someone who was sick with it -- a friend's five-year-old son.

The boy had eaten at the restaurant with her daughter, the night she took home leftovers. The boy also tested positive for E. coli, Romero said.

Romero said after her hospital stay, Alberta Health Services called her, asking questions about what and where she had eaten over the past week.

"We know that they're close in time and that they're close in place and that they all ate at this restaurant," Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone, said Thursday

"Beyond that, there's no common particular foods that they had at this restaurant. Otherwise, we don't actually have any other linkages."

The restaurant and its staff have not been confirmed as the source of the infection. AHS says the owner and staff are working with them to prevent further contamination. The restaurant remains open.

Romero disagrees with the decision to keep the restaurant open while AHS continues to investigate.

"At a restaurant mistakes happen, but this is a huge mistake. It's not only my case, it's how many other cases. I don't want to be harsh but I think it should be closed."

The owner of Mama Nita's Binalot did not return calls from CBC News.