October 5, 2020

Canadian Red Onion Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 515 Sick

The Canadian red onion Salmonella outbreak has ended after sickening 515 people in seven provinces according to the Public Health Agency Canada. The outbreak is linked to Thomson International onions imported from the United States. There is a related outbreak ongoing in the U.S. that has sickened at least 1,012 people in 47 states, but the FDA and CDC have not updated that investigation since September 1, 2020.

Canadian Red Onion Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 515 Sick

The case count in Canada by province is: British Columbia (121), Alberta (293), Saskatchewan (35), Manitoba (26), Ontario (14), Quebec (25) and Prince Edward Island (1). Illness onset dates range from mid-June to late August 2020. The patient age range is between 1 and 100.  In all, 79 people were hospitalized. Three people died, but Salmonella did not contribute to the cause of those deaths.

Ill persons said they ate red onions at home, in menus items ordered at restaurants, and in residential care settings. Many of the patients said they ate red onions before getting sick.

Traceback information, through collaboration with public health partners in the United States, identified that the contaminated red onions were from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California. Many food safety warnings were issued in relation to this outbreak. Onions grown in Canada were not associated with this outbreak.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include a fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and cramps, abdominal cramps and pain, and diarrhea that may be bloody. Most people start feeling sick 6 to 72 hours after infection, but some people may get sick after six days.

If you have eaten red onions and have been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this Canadian red onion Salmonella outbreak.

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