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Salmonella outbreak in six provinces, 23 sick in B.C.

Last Updated Apr 5, 2019 at 8:33 pm PDT

(Source: iStock)

Health officials are investigating a salmonella outbreak in six provinces that has sickened 63 people -- 23 in B.C.

Two deaths may have been caused by the bacteria

The cause hasn't been determined and the outbreak is ongoing

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A nationwide salmonella outbreak has infected 63 people in six provinces, including 23 people in B.C.

Two deaths were reported, although the Public Health Agency of Canada says they haven’t confirmed whether or not salmonella is the cause. Eighteen people have been hospitalized.

RELATED: Two dead after salmonella outbreak at personal care home in Winnipeg

The source of the outbreak is unknown and ongoing.

Lab tests have confirmed 23 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in B.C., 10 in Alberta, eight in Saskatchewan, 10 in Manitoba, 10 in Ontario, and two in Quebec. Everyone infected got sick between November 2018 and March 2019, and were between the ages of one and 87.

Three health authorities are investigating the outbreak, including the Canada Food Inspection Agency, Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada.

Risks and symptoms

Infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for salmonella infections, but anyone can contract it. Most people recover after a few days, but severe cases can land people in the hospital.

It’s possible to pass the infection on to someone else even while not showing symptoms.

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Symptoms start between six and 72 hours after exposure and last for four to seven days, including: fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting.

If you have these symptoms and think you may have contracted an infection, you’re asked to contact your doctor.

Protecting your health

It’s impossible to see, smell or taste salmonella, so people who eat food contaminated with the bacteria won’t know it.

Here are some things health authorities say you can do to protect your health:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling or preparing food
  • Don’t eat uncooked or raw foods including meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and eggs
  • Cook all raw foods (including frozen) to a safe internal temperature measuring with a food thermometer
  • Microwaving raw foods isn’t recommended because of uneven heating
  • Use separate plates, cutting boards and utensils when handling raw meat
  • Prevent cross-contamination: don’t re-use food plates, cutting boards, utensils and knives without re-washing them
  • Use paper towels for kitchen surfaces or change your dishcloths daily, and avoid sponges
  • Sanitize counter tops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food
  • Don’t prepare food for others if you think you may have a salmonella infection