(Pixabay)

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Several cases of salmonella across six provinces prompted the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial public health partners to launch an investigation into the outbreak.

A notice from the Public Health Agency of Canada said exposure to snakes and rodents is the likely source of the outbreak, with many individuals who became sick reporting direct or indirect contact with snakes, pet rats and feeder rodents that are used as reptile food.

As of Dec. 10, there are 92 confirmed cases of salmonella typherium illness in B.C., Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

There have been four confirmed cases in B.C. and the most – 52 cases – in Quebec.

Individuals became sick between April 2017 and October 2019. Six individuals have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. The people who became ill are between the ages of zero and 88 and just over half of the cases are female.

READ ALSO: Source unknown: B.C. among six provinces seeing enduring salmonella outbreak

The Agency said the investigation began in the fall because of an increase in reports of salmonella illnesses in multiple places across Canada. Cases are still being reported as the investigation continues.

Using a laboratory method called whole genome sequencing, investigators were able to determine that some illnesses dating back to 2017 and 2018 have the same genetic strain as the illnesses that occurred in 2019.

In Canada, salmonella typherium is common with an average of 750 cases reported per year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The Agency said there have been past outbreaks of salmonella illnesses that have been linked to snakes and rodents.

While anyone can become sick with salmonella, children aged 5 years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious illness.

The Agency said most people who become ill from salmonella will recover fully after a few days. It is also possible that some people could be infected with the bacteria but not get sick or show symptoms. They can, however, still spread the infection to others.

READ ALSO: Compliments brand chicken strips recalled due to salmonella risk

Symptoms of a salmonella infection typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria from an infected animal person or contaminated product. Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting and usually last for four to seven days.

Some steps to reduce the risk of becoming ill after handling reptiles, rodents and other environments are to wash hands immediately after touching a reptile or rodent and anything to eat, or after being in the area where they live, play or touch.

Surfaces or objects that a reptile or rodent has touched should be regularly cleaned with soapy water followed by a household sanitizer.

The public is advised to never kiss a pet rodent or reptile. Stress for a reptile can also increase shedding of salmonella.

More information about salmonella can be found at canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/salmonellosis-salmonella.html.

More information about keeping pets and their owners healthy can be found at canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/healthy-animals-healthy-people.html.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Meet Arthur Heart, Oak Bay Avenue’s resident stickman

Contest winner dubs stickman Art Heart

Victoria council keeps its catered lunches at more than $10,000 per year

Two councillors tried to eliminate the expense, with widespread rejection

All Carlton Cards stores closing in the coming weeks

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close, including 79 in Canada

UPDATED: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

Most Read