OTTAWA OUTBREAK: Number of Salmonella Cases Keeps Rising

Outbreak now stands at 37, public health says

By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen March 20, 2012

The number of salmonella cases believed to be connected to last week’s outbreak now stands at 37, says Ottawa‘s public-health department, an increase of 12 since Friday.

The department has also added four schools to the list of those affected: W.O. Mitchell Elementary School in Kanata; St. Gregory Catholic Elementary School in Nepean; St. James Catholic Elementary School in Kanata; and St. Jerome Catholic Elementary School in Riverside South.

Like all the others, they’re served by a franchise of The Lunch Lady, a catering service that delivers hot meals for children whose parents order them. Starting last week, the department began analysing samples of ground beef and a handful of other foods from a particular Lunch Lady kitchen on Boyd Avenue, with the contamination thought to have come in meat lasagna and beef tacos.

The results of lab tests needed to confirm the suspicion are still outstanding; it takes time to grow cultures of bacteria from the samples and compare their biological fingerprints to see if they’re connected to samples from sick people. In the meantime, franchise owner Jonathan Morris has closed the Boyd Avenue kitchen and another in Kanata until it’s confirmed what’s making people sick. A third kitchen, owned by another franchisee who serves eastern Ottawa and to which no salmonella cases have been traced, remains open.

Salmonella is a stomach bug that many people shrug off, but in serious cases it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and fever. In very severe cases, characterized by bloody diarrhea, dehydration and persistent fevers, patients need medical care. In this outbreak, three children were hospitalized and later released. Nobody new has gone to hospital in the week since the health department made news of the outbreak public.

Victims with lab-confirmed cases of salmonella include 35 children and two adults. Public Health has also recorded two more sick adults whose cases are believed to be unrelated. The department has a general information line at 6135806744 for anyone with questions.

dreevely@ottawacitizen.com ottawacitizen.com/greaterottawa

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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