New Brunswick Public Health has declared a salmonella outbreak after discovering 13 confirmed cases in the province and two that are still under investigation.
Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said the cases were founded in the north and eastern regions of the province but wouldn't elaborate where in those regions.
The cases were confirmed between June 16 and July 27, the Department of Health said in a news release.
The Department of Health doesn't know what caused the outbreak.
Macfarlane said the cases were not related to the more than 300 Canadians who became ill from salmonella, which have been linked to a recall of U.S. grown onions.
Washing your cutting boards
Salmonella is commonly associated with both consuming and handling raw chicken and eggs.
"When preparing raw meats, the risk is especially high for certain kinds of food poisoning, including infection caused by the bacteria salmonella enteritidis," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health in a news release.
"I strongly encourage people to take safety precautions when handling raw chicken and eggs and to ensure that these and all raw meat products are thoroughly cooked."
The bacteria can be spread by contact between cooked foods and raw poultry on unwashed cutting boards or knives.
It can also be passed in the feces of infected people and animals. It can be found in contaminated soil, food, water or on surfaces.
"The bacteria are spread by person to person contact, by animal to person contact, by eating contaminated food or by drinking contaminated water," the news release said.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of salmonellosis typically show up within one or two days after a person becomes infected.
Most people who become ill experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Symptoms usually last less than a week. In some cases, serious illness can develop.
The Department of Health is monitoring the situation and is in contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada.
How to prevent salmonella
New Brunswick can eliminate bacteria by cooking food until it reaches the proper temperature.The safe temperatures for cooked foods are:
- 85° C (185° F) for whole poultry
- 71° C (160° F) for ground beef
- 74° C (165° F) for leftover food
Eggs are safer when cooked thoroughly, such as when hard boiled or scrambled, and served hot.
If you check the temperature of meat more than once, clean the thermometer before using it again.
Eat cooked food while it is still hot. Bacteria can grow when food is allowed to cool down.
Keep cold food cold. Letting food sit at unsafe temperatures puts you at risk of food-borne illnesses.
New Brunswickers should wash their hands and surfaces thoroughly to avoid the spread of bacteria.
All harmful bacteria can be spread just by touching an infected surface, such as a cutting board, and then touching another surface.
This means residents should wash and sanitize all plates, utensils and cutting boards that touched or held raw meat or poultry before using them again for cooked foods.
"Use a mild bleach and water solution before and after preparing food to sanitize surfaces."
New Brunswickers should also keep raw foods separate from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Storing raw meats and poultry in the fridge on bottom shelves will prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.
"The simple rule is: when in doubt, throw it out."