The Public Health Agency of Canada revealed on Tuesday afternoon that their Salmonella outbreak investigation has now uncovered an additional 14 cases of the disease in Canada, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 110. According to a statement from the Health Agency, Salmonella has been found across multiple provinces and territories, and the cases are part of an ‘ongoing’ outbreak in the country.
According to a news release from Health Canada and The Public Health Agency of Canada, as of October 1, there are now 110 confirmed cases of Salmonella in Canada. The disease has been discovered in multiple provinces and territories across the country, including in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. The majority of cases have been found in Alberta, where 36 of the 110 confirmed cases were found.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial and territorial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate this outbreak of Salmonella infections.
Their investigations have led them to believe that the cause of the outbreak is exposure to raw turkey and raw chicken products, as many of the individuals who became sick reported eating different types of turkey and chicken products prior to contracting the illness.
Individuals infected with the disease became ill between April 2017 and August 2019, with experts noting that there could be other cases to come in the future. The Public Health Agency of Canada describes the outbreak as "appearing to be ongoing," as additional illnesses continue to be reported to them.
Of the confirmed cases, 32 individuals required hospitalization, and one individual died. The illness has affected Canadians between the ages of 0 and 96 and has infected an equal number of males and females.
Health Canada explains that Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in raw or undercooked turkey or chicken, and are most often transmitted to people when they handle, eat or cook contaminated foods.
The latest news release reminds Canadians to always handle raw turkey and chicken carefully and to cook it thoroughly to prevent food-related illnesses like Salmonella.
Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection would be expected to recover fully after a number of days; however, it remains an infectious disease. Some people may even be infected with the bacteria and not realize it and not get sick, but still have the ability to spread it to others.
The PHAC warns that raw turkey and chicken products carrying Salmonella may look, smell, and even taste normal. Therefore, it is important to always follow safe food-handling tips if you are buying, chilling, thawing, cleaning, cooking, and storing any kind of raw meat products.
Further details on how to deal with raw meat safely can be found here.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Government of Canada will continue to investigate the outbreak and will provide updates to Canadians if new information becomes available.
If you think you could be ill from Salmonella-related bacteria, you should contact a doctor immediately.