(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

Sunny skies expected across Lower Mainland this week

After weeks of rain and smoke, Environment Canada forecasts clear skies and steady warm temperatures

Senior White Rock election worker not concerned about safety at the polls

‘Casting your vote will be like getting a take out coffee,’ says Elections BC CEO

Surrey’s Johnston Heights reporting COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

White Rock exhibit designed to ignite passion for the arts

Surrey Artswest Showcase to include semi-private lessons

Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Margaret Cuthbert

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read