Public Health Notice Update - Outbreak of Salmonella infections under investigation
This notice has been updated to include 9 additional cases of Salmonella Infantis related to this outbreak.
Why you should take note
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections in nine provinces. To date, the source of this investigation has not been identified, but poultry products are food items of interest in the ongoing investigation. Further evidence in the investigation is needed to determine the source in this outbreak.
The risk to Canadians is low. Salmonella bacteria are found naturally in the intestines of animals, reptiles and birds. The bacteria are most-often transmitted to people when they eat contaminated foods. Contaminated foods often come from animal sources, like poultry, beef, milk or eggs, but can also include fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Illness can be avoided if food is cooked thoroughly and safe food handling, repackaging, and preparation practices are closely followed.
Currently, there are 91 cases of Salmonella Infantis illness in nine provinces: British Columbia (6), Alberta (11), Saskatchewan (2), Manitoba (2), Ontario (53), Quebec (13) Nova Scotia (2), Prince Edward Island (1) and New Brunswick (1). Individuals became sick between March 15 and November 30, 2015. The majority of cases (60%) are female, with an average age of 40 years. Sixteen people have been hospitalized, and all have recovered or are recovering. No deaths have been reported.
To date, the source of this investigation has not been identified, but poultry products are food items of interest in the ongoing investigation. Further evidence in the investigation is needed to determine the source in this outbreak. Canadians will continue to be updated if new information becomes available.
Who is most at risk
Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness, and can get sick more easily than others. Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but still be able to spread the infection to others.
What you should do to protect your health
Salmonella is commonly found in raw or undercooked poultry (including eggs), unpasteurized dairy products, fruits, vegetables, herbs and processed foods. Illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing and repacking these types of products. Foods contaminated with Salmonella look, smell and taste normal. Follow the safety tips below to protect yourself and your family.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after ingesting the bacteria.
These symptoms usually last four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness may occur and hospitalization may be required. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. It is possible for some people to become infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show symptoms. Even though you don't show symptoms, it is still possible to carry the bacteria and spread the infection to others. People who experience severe symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care providers if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.
What the Government of Canada is doing
The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the human health investigation of this outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address the outbreak.
Health Canada provides food-related health risk assessments to determine if the presence of a certain substance or microorganism poses a health risk to consumers.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts food safety investigations into the possible food source of an outbreak. The Government of Canada will continue to update Canadians as new information related to this investigation becomes available.
SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada
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