More than 20 people have fallen ill in Sweden with the source of infection suspected to be eggs.
The Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak involves 22 people from 11 different regions. The patients are between 7 and 90 years old. A dozen of the patients are women and the illnesses occurred between early December and early January.
At the end of December 2022, Salmonella Enteritidis was identified at CA Cedergren, a large Swedish producer, in one of the laying barns during a routine check, which led to several recalls.
Some sick people ate meals that contained eggs from the now recalled lots, so there is a probable connection to the finding of salmonella at the egg producer, says the Public Health Agency.
In recent days, a greater number of Salmonella infections have been reported than expected. These isolates have not yet been typed to determine the strain. However, several sick people mentioned the consumption of products with eggs from suspected contaminated batches so there is a good chance that the number of people in the outbreak will increase.
Go to Sweden’s good Salmonella record
Because of the recalls, there shouldn’t be any contaminated eggs left in stores or restaurants, but it’s possible that consumers still have them at home.
The outbreak is being investigated by the Swedish Agency for Agriculture, the Swedish Food Agency, the Public Health Agency and regional and local authorities.
When the prevalence of Salmonella in certain animals or foodstuffs is very low and strict national control programs apply, the European Commission can grant special guarantees to an EU country. This includes increased monitoring to demonstrate the absence of Salmonella before shipments are sent to these countries. Such guarantees exist for Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.
National control program data show that it is very rare to find Salmonella in Swedish meat or eggs and most people who get sick are affected abroad or from imported food. However, since salmonella was discovered in Swedish eggs in December, a number of recalls have been made.
Warnings have been made by Coop, Axfood, ICA, Lidl and Kronägg about different packaging sizes for eggs. Some have a best-before date of up to January 28, 2023.
Those companies said they are taking the incident seriously and are investigating with the supplier how contamination could have occurred. This included trying to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
Salmonella was found on the farm in Småland at the end of December and the Swedish Agency for Agriculture has decided that 165,000 laying hens must be killed.
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can get sick from a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about possible exposure to salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonella. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, often leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection may include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea can be so severe that patients require hospitalization.
Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop serious illnesses and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Some people become infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. But they can still spread the infections to others.
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