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Salmonella outbreak linked to snakes and rodents has infected 70 people in Canada – National |

An ongoing salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to snakes and rodents has killed one person and hospitalized 10 others, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

In a public health advisory released Tuesday, PHAC said at least 70 cases in eight provinces had been confirmed, as of March 19, as part of an outbreak dating back to 2022.

The cases have been reported in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Many people who became ill reported having direct or indirect contact with snakes and rodents (used as food for reptiles) before their illness occurred,” PHAC said in its advisory.

“Some people who became ill did not touch or handle the feeder snakes or rodents themselves, but lived in the same house where they were kept.”

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The illnesses occurred between February 2022 and February 2024.

According to PHAC, an investigation was launched last spring due to an increase in cases of salmonellosis reported in several provinces.

Officials used a laboratory method called whole genome sequencing to confirm that some of the salmonella cases dating back to 2022 were caused by the same outbreak strain as the more recent cases.

A common source or supplier of products related to the outbreak has not yet been determined.

“The outbreak continues and recent illnesses continue to be reported to PHAC,” the agency said.

This is not the first time a salmonella outbreak linked to snakes and rodents has been detected in Canada.

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The latest health and medical news are sent to you by email every Sunday.

Between April 2017 and November 2020, a total of 106 people were infected in seven provinces.

Click to play video: “Salmonella outbreak linked to snakes and rodents”

Salmonella outbreak linked to snakes and rodents

Salmonella is a bacterial infection commonly transmitted through contaminated food and water and poses a significant health threat, particularly to children and the elderly, as it can lead to serious gastrointestinal symptoms, dehydration and, in extreme cases, death.

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People can also get salmonella infection by directly touching reptiles and rodents, their food and their environment, as well as through indirect contact by touching contaminated surfaces where these animals are kept. This could happen at birthday parties, school or daycare events, at museums, science centers, zoos or at a traveling reptile exhibit, PHAC said.

To prevent infection, the agency gives, among other recommendations, the following advice in its public health notice:

  • always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching a reptile or rodent and anything it eats, or after being in the area where it lives, plays or touches
  • If you visit an exhibit or event with reptiles or rodents, wash your hands when leaving animal areas, even if you do not directly touch the animals
  • clean any surfaces or objects your reptile or rodent touches with soapy water followed by a household disinfectant
  • never kiss a pet reptile or rodent
  • always supervise children when touching or playing with reptiles or rodents
  • keep reptiles and rodents and all their food, containers, enclosures, and any objects that were in their enclosures, such as plants or enrichment items, away from the kitchen and other areas where food is prepared or consumed
  • clean or bathe reptiles or rodents in a dedicated plastic trash can, not in the kitchen or bathroom sink

Click to play the video: “What salmonella symptoms should we be wary of as an outbreak linked to cantaloupe kills 5 in Canada”

What salmonella symptoms should we watch out for as an outbreak linked to cantaloupe kills 5 in Canada

Symptoms of salmonella infection typically appear between six and 72 hours after exposure and can last four to seven days, according to PHAC. They may include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache or abdominal cramps.

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If you think you have salmonella, PHAC recommends seeing a health care provider.

Most people recover on their own, without any medical treatment, the agency said.

However, because salmonella can cause severe dehydration, a trip to the emergency room may be necessary. There is also a risk of serious illness if the infection moves beyond the intestines and antibiotics may be needed.

– with files from Katie Dangerfield of Global News

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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