2 residents at Winnipeg personal care home die after salmonella outbreak
3rd resident at Golden West Centennial Lodge tested positive for salmonella
Two residents at a Winnipeg personal care home died after a salmonella outbreak last month, but the source of the food poisoning remains a mystery.
Information about the deaths came to CBC in a leaked internal email from Golden West Centennial Lodge, a 116-bed personal care facility for medically vulnerable people in the Sturgeon Creek neighbourhood.
Public health officials declared the outbreak on March 20.
The executive director of the care home confirmed the deaths and said a third resident tested positive, but survived. Some other residents and staff showed symptoms but did not test positive.
"It is unusual that people who die while they are a resident in a personal care home are tested as positive for salmonella," said Joyce Kristjansson.
"Our food was all tested through public health. They haven't identified any items of food that they are concerned about."
The bacterial infection can be spread by eating or drinking food or beverages contaminated with salmonella, by contact with other infected people or animals, or contact with contaminated surfaces.
Out of concern for the privacy of the patients, the exact ages and times of death of the two residents have not been released. All public health officials would say is that all victims were over 45 years old.
After the outbreak was discovered, residents in the facility were isolated to their floors, group activities were cancelled and visits were restricted.
Health inspectors were at the site for a couple weeks, Kristjansson said, but were unable to determine the source of the illness.
Once the outbreak was declared, all residents and visitors at the facility were notified, said Dr. Bunmi Fatoye, medical officer of health for Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
"There was no risk we could identify to the general public," said Fatoye.
"Outbreaks happen all the time and it's unfortunate there were two deaths reported in this outbreak. This population is a vulnerable population.… All it takes is a little bit of illness to tip them over."
Health inspectors gave the facility a clean bill of health after residents were put in isolation. After there were no new cases for over a week, those isolation precautions were lifted.
With files from Marianne Klowak and Susan Magas