(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

Artist David Hunwick's Eye of the Ocean is featured in Sidney's Seaside Sculpture Walk. Following an agreement with the Township of Sidney, the ArtSea Community Arts Council will be taking over administration and revitalization of the local walk. (Township of Sidney)
Saanich Peninsula arts society responds to pandemic with budget, program changes

COVID-19 forced ArtSea to make significant changes to 2020 budget

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
Man issued fine after refusing to mask up in Central Saanich business

$230 ticket issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

The president and chief executive officer of BC Ferries promises additional reviews to help sustain BC Ferries. (Black Press Media File)
BC Ferries to review expenditures following 43 per cent passenger drop in 2020

Promise from CEO follows new figures showing significant decline in passengers

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read