Canada

Walkerton death toll revised

The Ontario coroner's office is lowering the number of deaths blamed on the E. coli contamination of Walkerton's drinking water.

The office says the number of dead from the June disaster is now six instead of seven - four direct deaths, and two in which the bacteria was a contributing factor.

There was insufficient evidence to determine the cause of the seventh death.

Ontario Deputy Chief Coroner, Doctor James Cairns, explains how the new figure came about.

"We had an expert panel who reviewed all the medical records of the deceased. We also had autopsy reports, medical reports, and internviews with families," says Cairns.

"With a set of criteria that were developed by this expert panel each of the deaths were reviewed."

The Coroner's office found that of 21 deaths in the Walkerton area, 14 were not connected to the outbreak.