Published August 29, 2008
MONTREAL – One person has died and 87 have fallen ill from a salmonella outbreak in Quebec, health officials said Friday, just days after authorities announced the deaths of 15 people linked to a separate food infection.
The Food and Agriculture Ministry has issued recalls of three different types of cheese throughout the province that are a suspected source of the salmonella outbreak.
Food and Agriculture spokesman Guy Auclair said the salmonella outbreak is not connected to the listeria outbreak linked to the 15 deaths or to a second, different strain of listeria found in cheese in Quebec, which has since been recalled.
Horacio Arruda, a director with Quebec's public health department, said he suspects the province will see more cases in the coming weeks.
"The epidemic's curve appears to show that we have not yet reached the end of the outbreak because . . . there have still been recent cases," he said.
Arruda said that in one week this month there were as many salmonella cases reported in the province's Eastern Township regions as there are in an average year.
Salmonella bacteria are a common cause of food poisoning, resulting in fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Symptoms usually surface 24 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food.
Arruda said about 40 percent of the people infected had to be hospitalized for at least a day to be rehydrated or for other symptoms.
He said about 1,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported each year in Quebec.
Friday's announcement comes after health officials announced the deaths of 15 people linked to another, but separate, bacteria outbreak called listeria.
Listeria, also a type of food poisoning that can be dangerous to people with compromised immune systems, was detected in tainted meat products produced by Maple Leaf Foods.
The outbreak was announced last week, and since then, the government has said that at least 29 people across Canada have also fallen ill from the listeria bacteria.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Friday that an additional 36 suspected listeria cases are being investigated.
Maple Leaf Foods has recalled 220 forms of meat products, including bologna, turkey, ham and other products — all produced at one Toronto plant.
Although Maple Leaf Foods sells products in several countries, Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokesman Marc Richard said the plant has not recalled any foods from outside Canada.