Canada finds imported red onion link to Salmonella Newport outbreak
Red onions imported from the United States are the likely source of a Salmonella Newport outbreak in Canada that has a genetic fingerprint similar to illnesses reported in the US outbreak.
A rapidly growing outbreak in the United States was first announced in early July, though investigations hadn't uncovered a source. Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 212 cases had been reported from 23 states. At the time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reported 59 cases from five provinces and noted that it was working with the CDC to identify a possible common source.
The PHAC said many of the sick patients reported eating red onions before getting sick, and a traceback investigation pointed to contaminated red onions imported from the United States and distributed in central and western Canada. It said more information is needed to determine the cause of contamination in the red onions, and it advised consumers to avoid eating red onions or products containing raw red onions from the United States.
So far, 114 Salmonella Newport illnesses from five provinces, mostly from British Columbia and Alberta, have been confirmed in Canada, an increase of 55 cases. People who got sick reported eating red onions at home, in restaurants, and in residential care settings.
Jul 30 PHAC update
Jul 27 CIDRAP News scan "CDC warns of growing Salmonella outbreak from unidentified source"
CDC: 473 more Salmonella illnesses linked to backyard poultry
In the last month, 473 more people have been sickened in the United States by Salmonella linked to contact with backyard poultry. A total of 938 people in 48 states are part of at least 15 multistate outbreaks tied to backyard birds, according to an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Also, four more serotypes have been added to the investigation: Braenderup, Muenchen, Thompson, and Typhimurium.
"The number of illnesses reported this year exceeds the number reported at the same time of the year in previous outbreaks linked to backyard flocks," the CDC said. "Stay healthy around your backyard flock by washing your hands, keeping your birds outside your house, and supervising young children around your flock."
Among people the CDC has information for, 151 people have been hospitalized, and one death has been recorded in Oklahoma. Approximately 28% of ill people are children younger than 5 years, the CDC said. Illnesses started on dates from Jan 14 to Jul 14. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 94 years, with a median age of 32.
In epidemiological interviews, 74% of ill people reported handling chicks and ducklings in the weeks preceding their illnesses. The birds came from a number of different hatcheries, stores, and websites.
Jul 29 CDC update