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Death toll rises to five in cantaloupe salmonella outbreak, as cases almost double

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OTTAWA -

Five people have died in a salmonella outbreak linked to Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes sold in six provinces.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says 129 people have been confirmed with salmonella linked to the outbreak, almost double the number at the last update on Dec. 1, when a single death had been recorded.

The agency provided no details on the deaths in its latest update on Thursday, but cases have risen sharply in Quebec, with 91 confirmed infections compared to 35 last week.

There are also 17 cases in Ontario, 15 in British Columbia, and two each in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The agency says 45 per cent of those who became ill were aged 65 and older while more than a third were children five and younger.

It says people became sick between mid-October and mid-November, and 44 have been hospitalized, adding other salmonella infections are being investigated.

"People who are infected with salmonella bacteria can spread salmonella to other people several days to several weeks after they have become infected, even if they don't have symptoms," the update says.

Consumers are being warned not to buy, eat or sell Malichita or Rudy brand cantaloupe. The agency says any brands of the fruit that can't be verified should be thrown out.

It issued food recall warnings three times in November for Malichita cantaloupes sold between Oct. 11 and Nov. 14.

On Nov. 24, it updated its warning to include Rudy brand cantaloupes sold between Oct. 10 and Nov. 24.

Three people in the United States have died from tainted cantaloupe as health officials work to determine whether additional products are linked to the outbreak that has sickened at least 230 people in 38 states.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2023.

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