(Pixabay)

(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

Jovin Walkus and Alayah Mack enjoy the Centennial Pool in summer 2020. (Geneva Walkus photo)
CCRD receives more funding for Centennial Pool project

The total funding for the project is now over $4 million

Provincial funding in the amount of $300,000 has been announced for the Cariboo Regional District’s plans to improve the Anahim Lake Airport runway. (CRD photo)
$300,000 provincial funding to fuel Anahim Lake Airport runway upgrade

The recovery grant is one of 38 announced to support jobs in rural communities

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The school is very proud of these students (pictured, left to right): Halim Demir (holding Grace Valdez’ gold certificate); Lauren McIlwain, Shayleen Mack, Jaymen Schieck, Kyle Doiron, and Finn Carlson (photo submitted)
SAMS students excel in international competition

The SAMS team swept their category this year; all six participants received awards

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

Most Read