(Unsplash.com)

Source unknown: B.C. among six provinces seeing enduring salmonella outbreak

63 confirmed cases since November 2018 with two related deaths

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of salmonella infections in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

The source of the outbreak has not been identified, according to a news release issued Friday evening. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is issuing this public health notice to inform Canadians of the investigation findings to date and to share important safe food handling practices to help prevent further Salmonella infections.

READ ALSO: Two dead after salmonella outbreak at personal care home in Winnipeg

Between November 2018 and March of this year, there were 63 confirmed cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in B.C. (23), Alberta (10), Saskatchewan (8), Manitoba (10), Ontario (10) and Quebec (2). Of those, 18 were hospitalized and two people died, though salmonella has not been confirmed as a contributing cause. Individuals who became ill are between 1 and 87 years of age and 57 per cent were female.

Symptoms of salmonellosis typically start six to 72 hours after exposure from an infected animal or contaminated product. Symptoms include: fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness and hospitalization may occur. In some cases, antibiotics may be required. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks.

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 because their immune systems are fragile.

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 to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a food safety investigation. If contaminated food products are identified, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling food products. Currently there are no Food Recall Warnings associated with this outbreak.

Protect your health

It is difficult to know whether a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can’t see, smell or taste it. The best ways to prevent Salmonella illnesses are to use safe food handling practices every day. The following food preparation tips may help reduce your risk of getting sick, but they may not fully eliminate the risk of illness.

Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling and preparing food.

Do not eat raw or undercooked foods such as meats, poultry, fish, shellfish and egg products.

Cook all raw foods such as meats, poultry, fish and eggs (including raw frozen food products) to a safe internal temperature to ensure that they are safe to eat. Use a digital food thermometer to verify the temperature. Insert the thermometer stem into the thickest part of the food, away from bone, fat or gristle. Make sure it is inserted all the way to the middle.

Microwave cooking of raw foods such as meats, poultry, fish and eggs (including raw frozen food products) is not recommended because of the possibility of uneven heating.

Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling raw meat or poultry products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria like Salmonella.

Prevent cross-contamination: Do not re-use plates, cutting boards or utensils that have come in contact with raw meat and poultry products to serve the cooked product unless they have been thoroughly washed.

Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, and avoid using sponges as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.

Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 mL household bleach to 750 mL of water), and rinse with water.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Firefighters battling two blazes on Highway 1 south of Ashcroft

Highway has reopened to single-lane, alternating traffic led by a pilot car so expect delays

Fires on Highway 1, CN mainline keep Ashcroft firefighters busy

Two vehicle fires and a rail fire sparked within an 11-day span

Reports on seniors’ needs, downtown show way forward for Cache Creek

‘I hope they won’t gather dust’ says Cache Creek mayor

Counselling support available for those impacted by wildfires

New, confidential, free service in region designed for families or individuals

Local News Briefs: Come out and rock

Join Rawkn’ Art Camp participants as they show off their accomplishments, and stay for a concert

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Most Read