Death toll rises to 7 from cantaloupe salmonella outbreak in Canada

Health Fitness

The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting another death from a salmonella outbreak involving cantaloupes, bringing the total to seven.

The agency says there have so far been 164 lab-confirmed cases of salmonella in eight provinces linked to Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes.

Quebec has been hardest hit, with 111 of those cases. There have also been illnesses in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The majority of people who became sick are children aged five and younger and adults aged 65 and older.

The agency says 61 people have been hospitalized.

It says if people have fresh or frozen cantaloupe at home and they are unsure what brand the fruit is, they should throw it out and wash their hands.

WATCH | How bio detectives track a salmonella outbreak: 

How bio detectives track a salmonella outbreak

When there’s a salmonella outbreak, scientists do genetic sequencing on bacteria samples from infected patients and bacteria of the contaminated food product. If there is a match, it can help determine the source of the foodborne illness. Correction: A previous title on the video suggested that the B.C. Centre for Disease Control lab discovered the salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe. In fact, the BCCDC was part of a number of labs to track the outbreak.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency first issued recall warnings on Nov. 1.

The affected Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes were sold between Oct. 10 and Nov. 24.

The food inspection agency has also recalled fruit trays and other fruit such as honeydew, pineapple and watermelon that were processed alongside recalled cantaloupes.

Salmonella symptoms can include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and abdominal cramps. They usually start six to 72 hours after eating food contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Most people usually recover within a week.

The public health agency says those infected with salmonella can pass the illness on to other people and should not prepare food for others.

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