Health officials investigate potential salmonella outbreak

Canwest News Service

Published: Monday, September 29, 2008


Source of Article:

OTTAWA - Canadian health officials are investigating a potential North American outbreak of a rare strain of salmonella called Salmonella Poona.

The Public Health Agency says it is working closely with local and U.S. health authorities to determine the origin of the food-borne illness that has sickened 48 people in the United States.

In Canada there have been six cases in Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia with the same "genetic fingerprint" as the strain in the U.S. and 14 other suspected cases in Ontario.  

No one has been hospitalized so far, the agency said in a news release.

"We don't yet know the source of the outbreak. (The investigation) is very preliminary right now," said Philippe Brideau, with the Public Health Agency.

Brideau said for most people the risk from Salmonella Poona is very low.

"It's a relatively rare strain around the world but it seems that people just get sick and move on," he said, adding that there is an average of 20 cases a year in Canada of the particular strain.

Symptoms generally occur in one to three days after eating tainted food, and will last two to five days and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever.

It can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in some people, such as children, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems.


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