Cucumbers are suspected in Salmonella illnesses reported from Canada and Washington state, though it’s not clear yet if the events are related.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said federal and provincial health officials are investigating 45 lab-confirmed Salmonella Infantis infections in five provinces, most of them in the west: British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec. The patient from Quebec had traveled to British Columbia, which has reported 37 of the cases.
According to an Oct 19 notice, PHAC said the outbreak’s source hasn’t been identified, but many of the people who got sick reported eating cucumbers before their illnesses began. Symptom-onset dates range from the middle of June through late September, and so far, nine people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
A food safety investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is under way, and if contaminated food products are found, it will take further steps, which would include recalling the product. So far, there are no recalls associated with the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) said it is working with state, local, and federal health partners to investigate six Salmonella infections in residents from five counties: King, Snohomish, Thurston, Yakima, and Pierce. The same (unspecified) strain of Salmonella is responsible for all of the illnesses, and the last confirmed patient’s symptoms began on Sep 15.
Five of the six people bought and ate English cucumbers from various Costco stores in Washington. According to the WSDH, the cucumbers linked to the infections were sold in three-packs of individually wrapped cucumbers. It urges consumers who bought English cucumbers at Costco between Aug 18 and Sep 10 and still have them in their refrigerators to throw them away.
Oct 19 PHAC notice
Oct 19 WSDH news release