The Public Health Agency of Canada says the death toll has risen to five in a salmonella outbreak linked to Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupes.
Although there have been no deaths mentioned on Vancouver Island, seven people on the Island have reported to have an illnesses due to salmonella after eating cantaloupe.
As of Dec. 7, there have been 129 laboratory-confirmed cases of the salmonella disease.
The bulk of the cases have been reported in Quebec, but cases have also appeared in British Columbia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The majority of the individuals who became sick are children five years of age or younger, or adults aged 65 or older.
University of British Columbia professor of food safety engineering Siyun Wang says that everyone should be concerned, regardless of age.
“Newborn babies, young children and elderlies, they are more vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean for people who are fully healthy they just don’t have to worry about it… that’s not true,” said Wang.
Craig Cavin from Southern Vancouver Island Country Grocer says it’s best to avoid the fruit until it’s cleared by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“It’s probably going to come from feces from an animal getting into the plant when it’s growing,” he said. “It’s in there. It gets shipped out, it’s already there.”
Salmonella symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms should contact a health professional immediately.
With files from the Canadian Press