379 Salmonella cases linked to imported U.S. onions: Public Health

TORONTO — Dozens of new Salmonella infections linked to imported onions from the United States have brought the total number of confirmed cases in the outbreak to 379.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is warning Canadians not to “eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions.”

If you’re unsure where an onion was grown, do not risk eating it, Public Health says.

Salmonella infections can start between six and 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

Healthy people usually recover within a week. However, children under the age of six, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of serious illness. In some cases, an infection can last for several weeks and require hospitalization.

Some do not show symptoms of Salmonella infection, but can spread the illness to others.

The outbreak has led to cases in provinces from coast to coast:

  • British Columbia (100)
  • Alberta (207)
  • Saskatchewan (26)
  • Manitoba (24)
  • Ontario (8)
  • Quebec (13)
  • Prince Edward Island (1)

To protect yourself, check the label to ensure onions are not from Thomson International Inc. If the product does not have a label, do not eat it.

Public Health also urges Canadians to wash any surfaces that may have come into contact with the onions or their packaging.

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