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article imageLive chicks at Alberta hatchery linked to Salmonella outbreak

By Karen Graham     May 26, 2015 in Health
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections that has been linked to live chicks at an Alberta hatchery. A total of 34 people were sickened in three provinces between April 5 and May 12.
The agency is investigating 17 cases in Alberta, 13 in British Columbia, and 4 in Saskatchewan. All the infected individuals had live contact with baby chicks, most of them from the same Alberta hatchery.
Symptoms of Salmonella Enteritidis infection called salmonellosis, usually include fever, cramps and vomiting. It often clears up without treatment in healthy people, although young children and the elderly or people with compromised immune systems can become seriously ill.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is not releasing the name of the northern Alberta hatchery. However, it has been learned the hatchery will begin sending letters to everyone who purchased live baby chicks from March 1 onward.
In a statement dated May 25, the PHAC said: “Individuals became sick between April 5 and May 12, 2015. These cases have all reported contact with live baby poultry. Most cases have reported contact with live baby poultry from a hatchery in Alberta."
Dr. Gerald Hauer, chief provincial veterinarian of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development told the Edmonton Journal last week that this is the third Salmonella outbreak since 2009, where infected chicks have reached several commercial farms and dozens of non-commercial chicken owners.
When asked if the public was in any danger, Dr. Hauer said, “The chicks that were potentially affected by this incident were not in production yet and those chicks will never lay eggs,” Hauer said. “The general public is really not at risk from this.”
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