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8 cases of Salmonella linked to recalled cantaloupe in B.C., officials say

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The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says eight cases of a rare strain of Salmonella in the province have been linked to imported cantaloupes subject to a recall.

The cantaloupes have been sold under the label "Malichita," the BCCDC said in a statement Wednesday evening, adding that the fruits should be discarded and should not be consumed.

B.C. residents should also discard any whole or pre-cut cantaloupes in their homes if they're unsure of the fruits' origins, the centre said.

The BCCDC said the eight confirmed cases of Salmonella have occurred "since mid-November," affecting people aged "zero to 68."

Cases have been confirmed in the Vancouver Coastal, Fraser and Island health regions, according to the centre.

"Public health investigation of the cases shows a link to recalled cantaloupes in Canada and the United States," the BCCDC said in its statement.

"On Nov. 14, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency updated a recall notice sent out on Nov. 1 to include B.C." 

As of Wednesday evening, the CFIA's recall notice appeared to have not been updated to include reference to the B.C. infections. The notice still said the recall had been triggered by CFIA test results and that no reported illnesses had been associated with the contaminated cantaloupes.

The BCCDC said the symptoms associated with the outbreak have been "typical of Salmonella infection," and have included diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.

"Most illnesses detected to date in B.C. were caused by the Salmonella soahanina bacteria (sometimes referred to as Salmonella sundsvall in other jurisdictions)," the BCCDC said.

"Genetic sequencing of the Salmonella bacteria shows a link between some of the B.C. cases, the strain of Salmonella found in the cantaloupes that were recalled, and a cluster of cases in the U.S."

The centre said it's collaborating with B.C.'s regional health authorities, the CFIA and the Public Health Agency of Canada to investigate the outbreak.

Most people will recover from Salmonella on their own within seven days, the BCCDC said. Anyone experiencing severe or persistent symptoms and anyone who is immunocompromised should contact a health-care provider or call 811.

More information about Salmonella infection can be found on the BCCDC website.  

Correction

This story has been updated to remove a reference to Health Canada. The recall was issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is not a subsidiary of Health Canada. Rather, they are separate agencies that are both components of the federal Health Portfolio.

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