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E. coli vaccine for cattle gets full licence

Ontario’s Bioniche Life Sciences has picked up full licensing approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for its vaccine to reduce shedding of E. coli 0157:H7 by cattle.

The vaccine, to be marketed under the name Econiche, is now available for “unrestricted use” by Canadian cattle producers and their veterinarians, the Belleville company said. Supplies will, however, be limited while the company builds a $25 million expansion at Belleville to ramp up production.

Dr. Hazel Lynn, medical officer of health for the Grey Bruce Health Unit, which includes the town of Walkerton, called the Econiche vaccine “an innovative way to reduce this public health risk.”

The company noted its full licence arrives on the heels of an E. coli outbreak associated with a Harvey’s restaurant in North Bay, Ont., where more than 200 people are reporting symptoms and there are almost 40 lab-confirmed cases of human illness. Another outbreak involves iceberg lettuce, with 50 people made ill in Michigan, Illinois and Ontario since early September, the company said.

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