Accueil Health & Food Outbreak of parasitic infections in three provinces linked to salad products

Outbreak of parasitic infections in three provinces linked to salad products

OTTAWA, ON, July 8, 2020 /CNW/ – The Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating an outbreak of digestive illnesses after eating products by the company Fresh Express. In the last few weeks, 37 people in three different provinces have become sick after eating the affected products, and 1 person has been hospitalized.

The investigation of cases in Canada has traced infections to Fresh Express salad products which contain iceberg lettuce, carrots and red cabbage. The contaminated products were distributed across the country, and it is believed they are linked to infections in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Therefore, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled affected products at the end of June.

The recalled salad products begin with lot code “Z177” and have best before dates up to and including 20JUL08 – 20JUL14.

A similar outbreak is also occurring in the U.S., where cases have been confirmed in multiple states. The American center for disease control has linked these infections to bagged salad mixes containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express.

Symptoms

Most people develop the following symptoms within one week after being infected with the parasite Cyclospora:

·         watery diarrhea

·         abdominal bloating and gas

·         fatigue (tiredness)

·         stomach cramps

·         loss of appetite

·         weight loss

·         mild fever

·         nausea

When you eat or drink contaminated food or water, it may take 7 to 14 days for symptoms to appear. If left untreated, you may have the symptoms for a few days to a few months. Most people have symptoms for 6 to 7 weeks without treatment.

Symptoms may go away and then return.

If you become ill, drink plenty of water or fluids to prevent dehydration from diarrhea.

Epidemiological information

Figure 1 below is an epidemiological curve for this outbreak. Outbreak investigators use this information to show when illnesses begin, when they peak, and when they trail off. It can take several weeks from the time a person becomes ill to when the illness is reported and testing confirms a link to the outbreak.

Data are available for 37 cases.

Figure 1: Number of people infected with Cyclospora

Table 1 – Number of people confirmed to be infected with Cyclospora by week of illness onset or specimen collection
Week of symptom onset or specimen collectionNumber of cases
2020-05-030
2020-05-102
2020-05-174
2020-05-244
2020-05-3112
2020-06-0711
2020-06-143
2020-06-211
2020-06-280