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Salmonella linked to BC

UPDATE 2:27 p.m.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections involving five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec. The illness reported in Quebec was related to travel to British Columbia.

The source of the outbreak has not been identified and the investigation is ongoing.

It is difficult to know whether a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can't see, smell or taste it. To help prevent Salmonella infections, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends monitoring the outbreak investigation by checking for regular updates to this public health notice and following safe food handling tips.

The following tips for preparing fresh fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of getting sick, but they may not fully eliminate the risk of illness.

  •     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. Be sure to clean your knife with hot water and soap before using it again.
  •     Wash fresh produce thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them. This helps prevent the spread of any bacteria that may be present.
  •     Don't soak fresh produce in a sink full of water. It can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
  •     Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces like cucumbers, oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots. It is not necessary to use produce cleansers to wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
  •     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 or in a container to prevent them from becoming cross-contaminated.
  •     Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, and avoid using sponges as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
  •     Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water), and rinse with water.

ORIGINAL 1:55 p.m.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says an investigation is underway into an outbreak of salmonella infections involving five provinces, mostly in western Canada.

The agency says on its website that the source of the outbreak has not been identified yet, although many of the people who became sick reported eating cucumbers.

It says that as of Friday, there have been 37 confirmed cases in British Columbia, five in Alberta, and one case each in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

The person from Quebec reported travelling to British Columbia before becoming ill, the agency says.

The cases occurred between mid-June and late-September, and nine people have been hospitalized.

The agency says it's collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada as part of the investigation.

"The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported," the statement on the Public health Agency of Canada website said.

No deaths have been reported.

The agency said there is no evidence at this time to suggest that residents in central and eastern Canada are affected by this outbreak.

Salmonella infection usually results from eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products.

Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.



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