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63 people sickened so far as salmonella outbreak hits 6 provinces

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DH Vancouver Staff Apr 06, 2019 7:11 am

Canadian health officials are warning the public about a salmonella outbreak that has affected dozens of people in multiple provinces.

So far, 63 illnesses have been reported in six provinces: BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

The ages of the people affected range from one to 87, according to The Public Health Agency of Canada.  A total of 18 people have been hospitalized.

Two deaths have been reported, however, it has not been determined whether Salmonella was a contributing cause.

The source of the outbreak has not been identified.

“Outbreak investigators are gathering information on possible sources. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported,” the agency said in a public health bulletin.

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Anyone can become sick from 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 bulletin warns.

In January, a salmonella outbreak that sickened dozens of people in 10 provinces was linked back to raw chicken products, particularly breaded chicken nuggets.

To lessen the risk of contracting salmonella, the following food safety tips are offered by public health officials:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Cut away any bruised or damaged areas on fresh produce, since harmful bacteria can thrive in these areas.
  • Wash fresh produce thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them.
  • Don’t soak fresh produce in a sink full of water.
  • Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces like cucumbers, oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots.
  • Use one cutting board for produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
  • Place peeled or cut fruits and vegetables on a separate clean plate.
  • Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily.
  • Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food.

 

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