4 salmonella cases in N.S. linked to deadly national outbreak: public health

Click to play video: 'What salmonella symptoms to watch out for as cantaloupe-linked outbreak kills 5 in Canada'
What salmonella symptoms to watch out for as cantaloupe-linked outbreak kills 5 in Canada
A salmonella outbreak across Canada has now claimed five lives, after infections linked to a brand of cantaloupes were sold in October and November. The number of confirmed cases has nearly doubled in the last week, with 129 people across Canada having been diagnosed with salmonella linked to the outbreak. Most of the cases are in Quebec, with 17 in Ontario, 15 in B.C. and two confirmed cases in each of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. Heidi Petracek reports on what Canadians are being urged to do, and the symptoms to watch for – Dec 9, 2023

Four salmonella infections in Nova Scotia have been linked to a deadly national outbreak related to the consumption of cantaloupe products, according to the province’s health authority.

A release from Nova Scotia Health on Wednesday said the reported cases, which were investigated by the National Microbiology Laboratory, were caused by the same strain of bacteria that was present in a nationwide outbreak.

“All cases presented with symptoms were tested, and have all since recovered with appropriate medical care,” Nova Scotia Health said, adding that the infections were identified in the province’s North and Central zones, which include the Halifax area.

“Additional salmonella infections are under investigation in other provinces and more illnesses associated with this outbreak may be confirmed.”

Salmonella, a bacterial infection commonly transmitted through contaminated food and water, poses a significant health threat, especially to children and older adults, as it can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms, dehydration, and, in extreme cases, death.

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On Dec. 7, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed five people had died, with at least 129 reported to have been infected with salmonella linked to Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes that were purchased in October and November. Forty-four people have been hospitalized.

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The agency said 45 per cent of those who became ill were aged 65 and older while more than a third were children five and younger.

The update from the national public health agency said those who’ve been infected can still spread the contagious bacteria to other people for several weeks after the initial infection, even if they are no longer experiencing symptoms.

Since investigators were able to trace the outbreak’s origin back to the popular orange melon, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued multiple food recall warnings on both Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes sold between early October and late November.

According to the release from Nova Scotia Health, those who contract Salmonella can experience symptoms as early as six hours following infection, with side effects lasting up to a week.

Some symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and abdominal cramps.

The provincial health body also advised people to dispose of Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes, along with any other products that have been recalled.

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“If you are unable to verify the brand of cantaloupe, or if your produce is part of the CFIA recalls, it is recommended to throw it out,” the release said.

— with files from the Canadian Press and Global News’ Katie Dangerfield 

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