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Several cases of rare salmonella strain confirmed in BC linked to cantaloupes

British Columbia’s Centre for Disease Control has said there have been eight confirmed cases of a rare strain of salmonella in the province since mid−November.

The centre said the outbreak has been linked to imported cantaloupes sold under the label “Malichita” that should be disposed of immediately and not consumed.

It said the cases include people ranging in age from under one to 68 years old, living in the Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and Island Health regions.

Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea, abdominal pain and sometimes fever, nausea and vomiting.

<who> Photo credit: CFIA

The centre explained that BC’s cases show a link to recalled cantaloupes elsewhere in Canada and the United States and on Tuesday the Canadian Food Inspection Agency updated its recall notice from earlier this month to include BC.

British Columbians are being told to discard Malichita cantaloupes that were sold from Oct. 11 to Nov. 14 as well as any other cantaloupes if their origin is unclear.

The centre added: "If you have whole or pre-cut cantaloupes in your home and are unsure of their origin, discard them as a precaution."

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, meanwhile, said it is verifying that the affected products have been removed from store shelves.

"Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick," the agency added.

"Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

"Long-term complications may include severe arthritis."

– With files from Canadian Press

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