Public Health Agency of Canada and it’s partners are investigating two salmonella outbreaks; one linked to dried sprouted chia seed powder and a second linked to contact with pet bearded dragons.
Canadian health officials say a totals of nine cases, involving two salmonella strains are associated with consumption of sprouted chia seed powder is made from ground, dried chia seeds. In total, 9 cases have been reported in British Columbia (6), Alberta (1) and Quebec (2). One case was hospitalized and has recovered. No deaths have been reported. The investigation is ongoing but currently, 7 of 7 cases that have been interviewed have reported consumption of dried sprouted chia seed powder.
The two strains identified include Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford, according to health officials.
In addition, as part of the investigation, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for various products from Advantage Health Matters containing sprouted chia seeds under the brands Organic Traditions and Back 2 the Garden. These products have been recalled and are being removed from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination.
Health officials advise consumers who have purchased these products to not consume them. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
A second outbreak investigation revolves around salmonellosis linked to contact with pet bearded dragons. Public Health Agency of Canada says since January 2012, there have been 9 cases of Salmonella Cotham reported in Canada. The current investigation is focussed on 4 recent cases of human illness in Alberta (2) and Ontario (2); 3 of 4 cases were children under 2 years of age. Of these 4 cases, 2 individuals were hospitalized and have recovered. No deaths have been reported. All 4 cases had direct or indirect contact with reptiles prior to becoming ill; 3 cases specifically reported exposure to pet bearded dragons. A similar outbreak is being investigated in the United States where 132 from 31 states have been infected.
Health officials advise the public the risk to Canadians is low, but reptile owners and anyone who is around these types of pets could be at risk if they don’t take proper precautions.
Reptiles can carry Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness. Even having indirect contact with these animals or their environments can put you at risk for developing Salmonellosis (for example, children playing in a room where a reptile was previously allowed to roam).