The authorities are investigating an outbreak of salmonellosis in six provinces that affected 63 people, 18 of whom had to be hospitalized.
The Public Health Agency of Canada announces that there have been cases in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
The source of the bacterial infection is unknown at this time.
The outbreak appears to be underway, as new infections continue to be reported, according to the agency.
The age of those affected ranges from 1 to 87 years old.
Salmonella is a common bacterium that causes intestinal disease. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting. It is usually caused by the consumption of contaminated food that has not been cooked properly, but can also be passed from one person to another if people do not wash their hands after using the toilet.
In Manitoba, two people died after testing positive for Salmonella in a personal care home, but health officials said they have not yet determined if the bacterial infection may have contributed to the deaths.
Three residents of Winnipeg’s Golden West Centennial Lodge contracted the bacteria last month and two of them died later in the hospital. The third person recovered.
Residents, their families and staff were informed of the outbreak, but as she was limited to the nursing home, no other public notice was released, the organization said in an email.
Joyce Kristjansson, the principal of the nursing home, said her staff had special measures in place during the outbreak, which is being investigated.
Residents had to stay on their floor, group activities were canceled, and staff put a special emphasis on hand cleaning for people entering and leaving the building.
“What I would like to emphasize is that we have a very fragile population here and that we contacted all the families when we were first informed,” she said.
The public health inspectors worked with the nursing home to try to find the cause of the outbreak. A kitchen inspection was conducted, but no evidence of contamination was found.