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Outbreak update - Salmonella infections in BC related to contact with live chicks from Alberta

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Vancouver – An outbreak of salmonellosis has been detected in people from Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan who have had contact with live poultry from a hatchery located in Alberta.

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is collaborating with BC Health Authorities, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial partners to investigate the outbreak and to ensure appropriate measures are being taken with affected poultry to protect public health.

In BC, 13 people from Interior Health Authority (IHA), Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and Fraser Health Authority (FHA) have become infected with Salmonella since mid-April. All of them have had contact with live chicks.  The chicks were purchased from one hatchery in Alberta, either through mail order or from feed stores in BC. Chicks were distributed from the hatchery to all health authorities in BC.

Anyone who has contact with live poultry should take the following precautions:
  • ​​Avoid close contact (e.g. avoid kissing) with all birds (Salmonella can be transmitted from the infected chicks to the other birds on the farm).  Birds that are infected may not appear ill.
  • Wash hands after contact with your birds or their environment.
  • Cook poultry meat and eggs to 74°C.
  • The most effective strategy to get rid of Salmonella in a flock is to depopulate, clean and disinfect the premises thoroughly and start over with new chicks.
Salmonella Enteritidis can live in the intestinal tract of birds. People can become infected through exposure to a contaminated source which may include poultry meat and eggs or from handling live infected birds. A person infected with Salmonella may experience symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. Symptoms start an average of 12 to 36 hours after exposure. If you had contact with live poultry and are experiencing symptoms of Salmonella please contact your healthcare provider.

May 29, 2015 Update:
There are now 14 confirmed cases of salmonellosis in BC related to handling live chicks from Alberta. 

If you are concerned that you have received infected chicks associated with this outbreak, please contact your supplier or your local health authority for further information.

Learn more: 

The BC Centre for Disease Control, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides provincial and national leadership in public health through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services. The Centre provides both direct diagnostic and treatment services for people with diseases of public health importance and analytical and policy support to all levels of government and health authorities. 

Media contact:
Bernelle Yan
Provincial Health Services Authority
604-707-2412 or pager: 604-871-5699



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