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McGuinty credits early warning system with catching listeriosis outbreak

Last Updated: Friday, August 22, 2008 | 2:44 PM ET

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says an early-warning system established after the deadly 2003 SARS epidemic allowed his province to sound the alarm on a nationwide bacterial outbreak.

His comments come as a second Ontario death was confirmed to have been caused by an outbreak of listeriosis.

The deaths have been reported in Hamilton and the Waterloo region.

At least three other deaths in the province remain under investigation as possibly caused by the outbreak.

Speaking in Thunder Bay, McGuinty said the province's monitoring system allows health officials to see a pattern "very early in the game."

He said he's glad the outbreak was caught early, and the province will take "serious steps" along with the federal government to end it.

Food safety officials are looking for a possible connection between 17 confirmed cases of listeriosis across Canada and the recall of nearly two dozen Maple Leaf Foods meat products manufactured at a Toronto plant.

The bulk of the cases involve people who are over the age of 50.

The disease is a particular danger to the infirm, the elderly and the unborn children of pregnant women.

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