(Montreal) The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is investigating an outbreak of several cases of salmonellosis across the country, including in Quebec.

The federal agency said in a statement Thursday that 45 cases of salmonella infection across eight provinces have been confirmed as of April 13. She mentions that the outbreak is linked to snakes and feeding rodents.

“Several infected people report having had direct or indirect contact with snakes and feeding rodents (used as food for reptiles) before the onset of the disease,” says PHAC.

Nearly half of the cases are currently in Ontario (22). Quebec reports 11, followed by Alberta (5), Manitoba (3), British Columbia (1), New Brunswick (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1).

PHAC details that among the cases, there were nine hospitalizations and one death. The age of those infected ranged from less than a year to 96 years old. The agency says infections date back between February 2022 and March 2023.

“Given that there is a time lag between the onset of the illness and its reporting to public health officials, it is possible that other more recent cases related to the outbreak may be reported,” says the ‘PHAC.

To prevent the disease, she recommends in particular frequent washing of your hands as well as regular cleaning with soapy water of the surfaces and objects that the reptile or rodent has touched, then with a disinfectant for the home.

According to the PHAC, salmonellosis can be contracted by touching reptiles and rodents, their food and their environment, and then touching their face, eyes or mouth without washing their hands.