Infectious Diseases 2018

Infectious Diseases 2018

Canada: Outbreak of Salmonella illnesses linked to raw turkey and raw chicken

24 December, 2018

As of December 21, 2018, there have been 22 confirmed cases of Salmonella Reading illness investigated in the following provinces: British Columbia (9), Alberta (7), Manitoba (5), and New Brunswick (1). Individuals became sick between April 2017 and mid-November 2018. Five individuals have been hospitalized. One individual has died. Individuals who became ill are between 0 and 93 years of age. The majority of cases (64%) are female.
The collaborative outbreak investigation was initiated due to an increase of Salmonella Reading illnesses that occurred in October and November 2018. Through the use of a laboratory method called whole genome sequencing, some Salmonella illnesses dating back to 2017 were identified to have the same genetic strain as the illnesses that occurred in October and November 2018. Almost half of the illnesses under investigation occurred in October and November 2018.
It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. This period of time is called the case reporting delay. In national Salmonella outbreak investigations, the case reporting delay is usually between 5 and 6 weeks.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) is also investigating similar Salmonella illnesses in several states that have been linked to raw turkey exposure. There have been some turkey products recalled in the U.S. that were associated with this outbreak. These products were not imported or distributed in the Canadian marketplace.