Salmonella outbreak linked to onions hits Alberta especially hard

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Alberta has seen more than half of the national cases of Salmonella infections linked to red onions grown in the U.S.

The cases were first reported in mid-June and a pubic health notice was first issued on July 30. As of September 14 there have been 506 confirmed cases in Canada, including 292 in Alberta. British Columbia saw the next highest number of cases with 116.

So far, 71 Canadians have been hospitalized. No deaths linked directly to the outbreak have been reported.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is advising people not to eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow or sweet onions from Thompson International Inc. of Bakersfield California.

The agency is also advising people not to eat any onions if they are unsure of their origin.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says it is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the outbreak and identify other food products that may contain the onions. A list of 30 items that are directly linked to the initial recall of onions can be found on the CFIA’s website.

Symptoms of salmonellosis typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to the Salmonella bacteria. Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. The symptoms can last from 4 to 7 days and often resolve without treatment, but antibiotics can be required.

Children under the age of 5, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune symptoms are most at risk.

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