Public health officials in Canada have confirmed that cantaloupes are the source of an outbreak of Salmonella infections.

The British Columbia Center for Disease Control reports that the outbreak is ongoing. So far there are eight confirmed patients in the province. There are likely more sick people because many do not seek medical treatment and other who do are not specifically tested for Salmonella infection.

The imported cantaloupes sold under the brand “Malichita” have been recalled in Canada and the United States. They may have small stickers with a very small version of the Malichita logo.

There have not yet been any confirmed cases of Salmonella infection in the United States linked to the implicated cantaloupes.

“Genetic sequencing of the Salmonella bacteria shows a link between some of the B.C. cases and the strain of Salmonella found in the cantaloupes that were recalled,” according to the provincial Center for Disease Control.

The confirmed patients range in age from less than 1 to 68 years old. They all live in British Columbia. At this point is is not known if there are patients in other provinces where the cantaloupes were distributed.

The cantaloupes were recalled in late October and early November. In the Unite States there have been two subsequent recalls of cantaloupes sold under two other brands. Those cantaloupes were distributed by Sophia Foods LLC, doing business as Trufresh. After the Trufresh recall a company in Oklahoma, Vinyard Fruit and Vegetable Company, issued a recall this week of its freshcut cantaloupe products. 

Consumers in Canada and the United States have been urged to discard any of the recalled cantaloupes that they have on hand. The cantaloupes were sold between Oct. 11 and Nov. 14. Consumers who cannot determine if the cantaloupes in their homes are of the specific brands under recall they should dispose of them.

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled whole or freshcut cantaloupes and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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