Health Canada reports salmonellosis outbreak linked to reptiles and rodents

MONTREAL — The Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial authorities are investigating an outbreak of salmonellosis cases in eight provinces linked to snakes and rodents used to feed reptiles.

Between February 2022 and February 2024, Health Canada reported 70 cases of salmonella infections in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Almost half of the reports come from Ontario, while 11 cases have been reported in Quebec.

In a press release, Health Canada states that “several infected people report that they had direct or indirect contact with snakes and ate rodents before the onset of the disease.” Other people who became ill with salmonellosis did not touch or touch snakes or rodents directly, but “lived in a house where they were present”.

According to Health Canada, symptoms can appear 6 to 72 hours after exposure to salmonella bacteria. These include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and abdominal cramps.

Of the reported cases, 10 people were hospitalized and one person died from the disease, Health Canada reports.

The authority points out that infected people remain contagious for several days, sometimes even weeks, after contracting the bacteria.

To reduce the risk of infection, Health Canada recommends, among other things, washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with reptiles, rodents or their environment. The agency also recommends cleaning surfaces and objects touched by pet reptiles and rodents and avoiding kissing these animals.

The outbreak is still ongoing and Health Canada is urging anyone experiencing symptoms to seek medical attention.

Jordan Johnson

Award-winning entrepreneur. Baconaholic. Food advocate. Wannabe beer maven. Twitter ninja.

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