Canadian officials have posted their final update on a Salmonella outbreak traced to cantaloupe, adding two deaths to the toll.
There were 190 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Soahanina, Sundsvall, Oranienburg, and Newport illnesses associated with the nationwide outbreak. Sixty-eight patients were hospitalized, and nine died.
Recalls for Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupe from Mexico began in November. Several secondary recalls of fresh-cut products made with the cantaloupes were initiated. Investigators found the outbreak strain of Salmonella on Malichita brand cantaloupe.
Individuals who became ill were less than 1 to 100 years of age. Most of the patients were children five years or younger, 33 percent, or adults 65 years or older, 45 percent. About half of the cases were female.
The Canadian outbreak coincided with an outbreak in the United States that was traced to the same cantaloupe as was implicated in Canada.
In the United States, the outbreak stretched across 44 states and sickened 407 people. Six deaths were reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the outbreak on Nov. 17.
Of the 362 patients with information available, 158 were hospitalized. This 44 percent hospitalization rate is higher than in most Salmonella outbreaks, suggesting particularly virulent pathogen strains.
Illnesses started from Oct. 15, 2023, to Dec. 25, 2023.
The patients ranged from less than 1 year old to to 100 years, with a median age of 60. An unusually high percentage of the patients were five years or younger, with 26 percent of patients reported in that age group. Forty-seven percent of the patients were 65 years old or older.
The CDC reports that many more people were likely part of the outbreak but are not reflected in the official patient count. This is because many people do not seek medical attention, and those who do are often not specifically tested for Salmonella infection. For every person confirmed as a patient in a Salmonella outbreak, the CDC says another 29 to 40 patients go unidentified, according to researchers. This means as many as 11,800 patients could have been part of this outbreak.
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