• Salmonella Cases Likely Linked to Cucumbers in Canada – Cases in US Tied to Costco

    Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to bring this news item up for everyone’s awareness.  There has been an outbreak of Salmonella – the source of the outbreak has not been identified and the investigation is ongoing.  In the US the Salmonella outbreak has been linked to the 3-pack of cucumbers in the US.   I thought people should at least be aware.  Currently there are no Food Recall Warnings associated with this outbreak.

    For the official Public Health Notice visit the site here:  https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/public-health-notices/2018/outbreak-salmonella-infections-under-investigation.html

    As of October 19, 2018, there have been 45 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Infantis illness investigated 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. Nine individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 1 and 92 years of age. The majority of cases (58%) are female.

    Public Health Agency of Canada is issuing this public health notice to inform residents in western Canada of the investigation findings to date and to share important safe food handling practices to help prevent further Salmonella infections.

    Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile.

    Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

    It is difficult to know whether a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can’t see, smell or taste it. To help prevent Salmonella infections, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends monitoring the outbreak investigation by checking for regular updates to this public health notice and following safe food handling tips. The following tips for preparing fresh fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of getting sick, but they may not fully eliminate the risk of illness.

    • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh produce.
    • Cut away any bruised or damaged areas on fresh produce, since harmful bacteria can thrive in these areas. Be sure to clean your knife with hot water and soap before using it again.
    • Wash fresh produce thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them. This helps prevent the spread of any bacteria that may be present.
    • Don’t soak fresh produce in a sink full of water. It can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
    • Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces like cucumbers, oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots. It is not necessary to use produce cleansers to wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
    • Use one cutting board for produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
    • Place peeled or cut fruits and vegetables on a separate clean plate or in a container to prevent them from becoming cross-contaminated.
    • Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, and avoid using sponges as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
    • Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water), and rinse with water.

    Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal or contaminated product.

    Symptoms include:

    • fever
    • chills
    • diarrhea
    • abdominal cramps
    • headache
    • nausea
    • vomiting

    These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness and hospitalization may occur. In some cases, antibiotics may be required. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.

    Washington State health officials are working with state, local and federal public health partners to investigate the source of six Salmonella infections.

    The six cases include residents of King (1), Snohomish (1), Thurston (1), Yakima (2) and Pierce (1) counties. All were infected with the same strain of Salmonella bacteria. The last confirmed case reported illness on Sept. 15.

    Five of the six people reported buying and eating English cucumbers from various Costco stores in Washington. The cucumbers linked to the illnesses were sold in three-packs of individually wrapped cucumbers.

    Comments
    1. Evelyn Tan |