Salmonella sickens 34 but source yet to be identified

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Canadian agencies said they are investigating to determine the source of the illnesses
Canadian agencies said they are investigating to determine the source of the illnesses

Related tags: Public health agency, Food, Oyster

Salmonella has sickened 34 people in Canada but agencies are yet to identify a source.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said it is investigating the outbreak in eight provinces.

Salmonella Infantis illness are in British Columbia (3), Alberta (6), Saskatchewan (2), Manitoba (2), Ontario (16), Quebec (3) Nova Scotia (1), and New Brunswick (1).

People became sick between June 12 and September 20. The majority of cases (62%) are female, with an average age of 41. Eight people have been hospitalized and all have recovered or are recovering.

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.

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 safe food handling, preparation, and cooking practices are closely followed, said the agency.

Vibrio investigation closed

PHAC also revealed it had finished its investigation into an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus linked to raw shellfish as there had been no cases since early September​.

82 infections were reported in British Columbia (60), Alberta (19), Saskatchewan (1), and Ontario (2) with the majority linked to eating raw oysters with one person hospitalised since May 26.

The agency said illnesses can be avoided if shellfish are cooked before being eaten.

Vibrio is a naturally-occurring bacterium that can be present at high levels in coastal waters during periods of increased water temperatures.

Most people come in contact with it by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters.

American Salmonella outbreak grows

Meanwhile, the case count of the outbreak of Salmonella from cucumbers in the US has grown to 767 from 36 states with 157 people hospitalized and four associated deaths.

The “slicer” cucumbers were supplied by Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce and grown in Baja, Mexico and can also be called “American”.

Illness start dates range from July 3 to September 29​.

Traceback investigations determined Rancho Don Juanito de R.L. de C.V. was the primary source of cucumbers shipped to Andrew & Williamson.

The FDA issued an updated Import Alert based on identification of Salmonella through import sampling of the farm’s cucumbers. 

The agency added a second Import Alert based on the appearance that cucumbers appeared to have been prepared, packed, and held under insanitary conditions.

Related topics: Food safety and labeling

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