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Over 550 Chicken-Related Salmonella Cases Confirmed By Health Canada In Just 2 Years



Since May 2017, the Public Health Agency of Canada has reported 555 salmonella cases connected to contaminated chicken products.

As of the beginning of this month, 555 laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonella have been reported across the country by the Public Health Agency of Canada in less than two years. The Public Health Agency of Canada launched a collaborative investigation alongside the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada back in May of 2017. The investigation specifically targetted salmonella outbreaks in Canada linked to raw chicken, including frozen raw breaded chicken products.

The collaborative investigation employed innovative technology that scientists refer to as "whole genome sequencing" to analyze and identify outbreaks of infection. 16 national outbreaks connected to raw chicken were investigated, which linked to 13 specific food products. As of March 1st, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency had issued food recall warning for 12 of those products, and one product was removed from the market.

Of the 555 confirmed cases, Ontario was the province that was most plagued with illness; 201 salmonella cases were recorded in Ontario. As for the rest of Canada's provinces and territories, 42 of the cases were recorded in British Columbia, 84 in Alberta, 18 in Saskatchewan, 27 in Manitoba, 115 in Quebec, 28 in New Brunswick, 18 in Nova Scotia, 6 in Prince Edward Island, 12 in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 in Northwest Territories, 1 in Yukon, and 2 in Nunavut.

Public Health indicated that of those affected by the salmonella outbreaks, 92 individuals were hospitalized. Three people have also died in connection to the outbreaks.


Like many infections, salmonella doesn't discriminate: those infected by the contaminated chicken products were Canadians of a wide range of ages and of different genders.

Just this morning, another recall on a frozen raw breaded chicken product was issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Sofina Foods Inc. is recalling Janes brand Pub Style Chicken Nuggets from grocery stores due to possible salmonella contamination. Even though they may look, smell, and even taste totally fine, consumers are advised not to consume the recalled product, as multiple illnesses have been reported in connection with consuming Janes Pub Style Chicken Nuggets.

Last September, Canada's Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health issued a health advisory promoting proper food safety practices when handling, preparing or consuming frozen raw breaded chicken products.

The advisory reminded the public that "when not thoroughly cooked, frozen breaded chicken products containing raw chicken pose an increased health risk to individuals who handle, prepare or consume them."There are numerous recognizable symptoms of salmonella infection (called salmonellosis) that consumers should be aware of. These symptoms tend to manifest between 6 and 72 hours following exposure to Salmonella bacteria from either an infected animal or a contaminated product. These include:

Fever
Chills
Diarrhea
Abdominal cramps
Headache
Nausea
Vomiting
Symptoms of a salmonella infection typically last four days to one week. Salmonellosis is often self-limiting, in that it clears up on its own without treatment in healthy individuals. However, cases occur in which severe illness and hospitalization result from infection, and the administration of antibiotics is required.

People should be aware that those who have contracted a salmonella infection may be infectious from several days to several weeks. For those who present symptoms or have underlying medical conditions, medication attention should be immediately sought out if they suspect they have a salmonella infection.