U.S.-linked salmonella outbreak leads to 59 cases across 5 provinces

A doctor points out a growth of of salmonella in a petri dish at IEH Laboratories in Lake Forest Park, Wash., in this Monday, May 17, 2010 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson, file

A salmonella outbreak with ties to the United States has led to 59 confirmed cases across five provinces as of Friday, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) confirms.

The agency says the majority of cases have been reported in British Columbia and Alberta, which have seen 23 and 31 cases, respectively. Three cases have been reported in Manitoba, while Ontario and Prince Edward Island have each seen one case so far.

All patients became sick between mid-June and mid-July.

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Data for 28 of the cases shows six have been hospitalized with severe salmonella symptoms, which include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. No deaths have been reported.

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The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified, and no recalls have been ordered.

The PHAC says the U.S. has also reported a salmonella outbreak with “a similar genetic fingerprint” to the illnesses in Canada.

Click to play video 'Hold the turkey: ongoing salmonella outbreak in Canada and U.S.' Hold the turkey: ongoing salmonella outbreak in Canada and U.S.
Hold the turkey: ongoing salmonella outbreak in Canada and U.S – Dec 28, 2018

In a notice issued Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 125 salmonella illnesses have been reported across 15 states. Since the outbreak there was first reported on July 10, 24 people have been hospitalized, but no one has died.

“Investigators in Canada and the U.S. are collaborating to exchange information to identify the source of the outbreak,” the PHAC said.

The agency said it is also working with provincial health authorities and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in their investigation.

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Salmonella is typically transmitted to people through contaminated foods, most often animal products. It can also come from fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The PHAC is urging people to wash their hands frequently, particularly after handling raw meat and fresh produce, and cook food to a safe internal temperature.

More information about safe food handling practices can be found on the Health Canada website.

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Most people who are infected with salmonella recover from the illness within a week without treatment. However, children under five, adults over 65, and anyone with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of severe illness.

The salmonella infection can also spread from the intestine, where the bacteria is typically found, to the bloodstream and other parts of the body.

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