A hatchery in Alberta, Canada, is thought to be the source of Salmonella enteritidis-infected chicks that have resulted in 34 cases of human infections so far this year.

The cases of human infection under investigation are spread across three of the country’s provinces. Individuals became sick between April 5 and May 12 this year, and in all cases there had been contact with chicks. Most cases have reported contact with chicks coming from the Alberta hatchery.

The un-named hatchery, with is thought to work with small- and large-scale producers, is contacting any clients who have placed orders for chicks since the beginning of March this year, however, it is not known how many infected chicks may have been sent out.

Alberta Forestry and Agriculture is leading the animal health investigation and working closely with the hatchery. The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial and local public health and agricultural partners to investigate the outbreaks of Salmonella infection in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has stressed that the risk to the general population of infection with Salmonella is low, but is reminding those that have contact with live poultry to take precautions to protect their health.