A 7th cantaloupe-related death reported in Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting another death from a salmonella outbreak involving cantaloupes, bringing the total to seven.

The agency says the total number of cases has risen to 164 in eight provinces linked to Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes so far.

The PHAC says infections have been reported in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Most of the people who fell ill are children five years and younger, as well as adults 65 and older. The PHAC says many of these people live in long-term care, as well as retirement and assisted living facilities, or attend daycare.

“Many of the individuals who became sick reported having eaten cantaloupe before their illnesses occurred,” the PHAC said in its updated warning Friday.

It adds it is working with agencies in the U.S. to investigate the ongoing cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak.

The latest advisory comes after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued food recall warnings for the cantaloupes last month.

To start, the CFIA put out warnings about Malichita-brand cantaloupes sold between Oct. 11 and Nov. 14 on Nov. 1, 14, and 17. Later in November, the CFIA updated its recall warning to also include Rudy-brand cantaloupes sold between Oct. 10 and Nov. 24.

The melons were distributed in the eight provinces mentioned, and possibly other provinces and territories.

“Additional secondary recalls have been issued for products that were made using recalled cantaloupes and for produce items that were processed alongside recalled cantaloupes. This includes other fruit like honeydew, pineapple, watermelon and various fruit trays,” the PHAC said.

The CFIA is advising people who are unable to verify the brand of cantaloupe they have or if it is part of the recall notice to throw the item out.

The majority of illnesses have been reported in Quebec at 111 as of Dec. 22. In B.C., 18 cases have been confirmed, while Alberta has seen four and Ontario has seen 21.

“Additional Salmonella infections are under investigation and more illnesses associated with this outbreak may be confirmed,” the PHAC said.

The agency says symptoms generally start six to 72 hours after a person has been exposed to the Salmonella bacteria. They include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and abdominal cramps. The PHAC say symptoms usually last up to seven days.

Salmonella can be spread to other people several days to weeks after someone has been infected, even if they aren’t symptomatic, the PHAC adds.

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