November 18, 2019

Chia Seed Salmonella Outbreak Investigation Updated; 65 Ill

The Public Health Agency of Canada has updated its investigation into the Salmonella outbreak linked to the consumption of chia seeds and sprouted chia seeded powder. There is an outbreak in the U.S. as well. Now, at least 44 people in Canada and 21 people in the U.S. are sick in this outbreak.

SalmonellaIn the U.S., the ill persons live in 12 states. Patients range in age from 1 to 81; two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported to date. In Canada, the 44 ill persons live in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. Six people have been hospitalized in that country. No deaths have been reported in Canada.

There are three separate strains of Salmonella in this particular outbreak in the United States: Newport, Hartford, and Oranienburg. The Canadian outbreak includes those strains and Salmonella Saintpaul. In Canada, 26 of the 26 people who were interviewed reported consumption of sprouted chia seeds or sprouted chia seed powder before they became ill, and 23 reported consuming sprouted chia seed powder.

Many recalls have been issued for chia seed and sprouted chia seed powder products in both countries. The products have a long shelf life and are most likely still in consumer’s homes. Read through the recalls carefully and look on your shelves and in your pantry. If you do have any of the recalled products, do not eat them. Discard in a plastic bag, then wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, chills, and headache. If you do experience these symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Symptoms usually last four to seven days, and most people get better without treatment. But some people become so ill they must be hospitalized, and the long term consequences of a Salmonella infection can be serious. People with Salmonella infections can develop Reiter’s Syndrome, which can lead to chronic arthritis.

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