November 19, 2018

Salmonella Outbreak in Canada Associated with Cucumbers Updated

The Salmonella outbreak in Canada that may be associated with long English cucumbers has been updated by Public Health Canada. Five more ill persons have been added to the case count. Those sickened live in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec.

Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak Canada

Based on the investigation findings, exposure to long English cucumbers has been identified as the likely source of this outbreak. Many of those sickened said they ate that vegetable before they got sick. The outbreak is ongoing, and more illnesses continue to be reported. The outbreak seems to be limited to western Canada.

As of November 2, 2018, there are 50 lab-confirmed cases of Salmonella Infantis illnesses in those provinces. The case count by province is: British Columbia (42), Alberta (5), Saskatchewan (1), Manitoba (1), and Quebec (1) Illness onset dates range from mid-June to early-October 2018. Ten of these patients have been hosptalized because they were so sick. The patient age range is from 1 to 92 years.

Since it’s impossible to tell whether or not produce is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, you should be aware of recall and outbreak notices. No recalls have been issued in this outbreak.

To reduce your risk of getting sick from contaminated produce, follow these rules. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before preparing food. Cut away bruised or damaged areas on product and clean the knife with soap and hot water before using it again.

Wash fresh produce under cool running water. Wash all produce, even if you plan to peel it. The peeling blade can transfer bacteria from the peel to the flesh of the fruit or vegetable. Don’t soak produce in water; it can be contaminated by the bacteria in the sink. And use a clean brush to scrub firm produce such as cucumbers, oranges, melons, and carrots. Produce washes do not remove bacteria.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, chills, diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting. People are usually sick for 4 to 7 days, and most don’t see a doctor.

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