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article imageSalmonella outbreak hits Washington and five provinces in Canada

By Karen Graham     Oct 21, 2018 in Health
Public health officials in Canada are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella infections involving five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec related to consuming cucumbers, as is Washington state across the border.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections. The illness in Quebec involved one person who had traveled to British Columbia.
This leaves the Salmonella outbreak confined to Canada's western provinces, affecting 45 people. In Washington state, health officials are reporting six illnesses due to Salmonella in five counties.
Canadian health officials note that many of the people who became ill reported eating cucumbers before they became sick. But health officials also stress that other sources of Salmonella have not been ruled out. However, the outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported.
A breakdown of the 45 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Infantis illness investigated was found in the following provinces: British Columbia (37), Alberta (5), Saskatchewan (1), Manitoba (1), and Quebec (1). The individual from Quebec reported traveling to British Columbia before becoming ill. Individuals became sick between mid-June and late-September 2018.
A total of nine people have been hospitalized in Canada and no deaths have been reported. Those who became ill were between the age of one-year-old and 92 years of age. About 58 percent of those becoming ill were female.
Washington state outbreak
In a statement, the Washington State Department of Health said Friday that five of the six people reported buying and eating English cucumbers from various Costco stores in Washington.
According to CBC Canada, the English cucumbers linked to the illnesses were sold in three-packs of individually wrapped cucumbers.
PHAC said it is working with the U.S. to determine whether there are commonalities between these two events that can help to identify the source of the Canadian outbreak.
More about Salmonella, Canada, Washington state, cucumbers, Food safety
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