An outbreak of Salmonella is affecting individuals in at least six provinces, causing dozens of Canadians to fall ill. As of last Friday, 63 cases of Salmonella have been confirmed by Health Canada in six provinces and investigations are currently underway for Salmonella cases in Ontario, as well as in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec.
So far, British Columbia has felt the greatest impact of the outbreak; 23 individuals have been infected and are currently presenting signs of illness. In Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta, only ten cases have been reported in each province - eight cases have been recorded in Saskatchewan, and only two in Quebec. Cases continue to be reported throughout Canada as the outbreak shows no signs of slowing down.
According to the Public Health Notice issued by Health Canada, individuals contracted the illness between November 2018 and March 2019. Since then, 18 people have been sent to the hospital, and two have died. However, it is not yet known if Salmonella was the cause of death in these cases.
As with many infectious diseases, Salmonella doesn't discriminate; the individuals who contracted Salmonella were between the ages of 1 and 87. However, the majority (57%) of cases documented by Health Canada are female.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is in the midst of conducting a rigorous food safety investigation. Although Health Canada has not yet identified the source of the outbreak, the agency is committed to taking the appropriate actions to protect the health of the public by recalling food products if required. As of today, no food recall warnings associated with this particular outbreak have been announced publicly.
According to a previously-released notice released by Health Canada, Salmonella is said to make around 87,500 Canadians sick every single year. One common cause of Canadians falling ill is due to inadequate cooking temperatures or durations.
Just last month, 555 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella had been reported across the country by the Public Health Agency of Canada in less than two years. The Public Health Agency of Canada launched a collaborative investigation alongside the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada back in May of 2017. The investigation specifically targeted salmonella outbreaks in Canada linked to raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products.
The Public Health Agency of Canada warns Canadians to adopt and encourage safe food handling practices to prevent further spread of infection. Health Canada will be providing regular updates as the nation-wide investigation continues.