Interior Health says it is collaborating with the BC Centre for Disease Control, BC health authorities, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial partners to investigate an outbreak of salmonellosis in Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan.
“The cases of human illness are related to contact with live baby poultry originating from a hatchery in Alberta,” Interior Health stated in a press release issued Wednesday.
To date, there have been 13 cases of salmonella infection and two hospitalizations in B.C. connected to this outbreak.
Public health communications manager Lesley Coates told the Tribune several of the confirmed cases are throughout the IH region.
“There are no geographical clusters,” she said. “The chicks from the hatchery were distributed throughout the province.”
Any hatchery clients in the Williams Lake area who received chicks from the hatchery will be contacted directly by the hatchery, said Dr. Gerald Hauer, Chief Provincial Veterinarian, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in an e-mail Thursday.
“Contact with live poultry, from any source at any time, can be a source of germs and infections,” Hauer said, adding anyone who is handling live poultry should take the recommended precautions.
If backyard producers have questions about the source of their poultry, they should contact their supplier. It is part of our established practice to not release the name of the hatchery, and we’re working across governments and with the producer to ensure any needed steps are taken to protect animal and public health.
Anyone who has contact with live poultry and/or has eggs from hobby farms, non-commercial organic farms and backyard flocks are advised to take precautions to protect their health, IH warned.
Members of the public who have acquired poultry from a hatchery in Alberta, and are concerned they may be affected by this outbreak, should contact their supplier or their local Health Protection Unit for more information.