The number of people sick in a Salmonella outbreak in Sweden traced to eggs has doubled to almost 50.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) also warned this figure is expected to increase again.
There are 48 people from 13 regions confirmed to have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis, this is up from 22 people in 11 regions.
Illnesses occurred between early December and mid-January. Of those sick, 22 are women and 26 are men. The age range is 1 to 90 years old with a median age of 34.
The outbreak has been linked to eggs, which have been recalled. Analysis has revealed Salmonella found during environment sampling at an egg producer is identical to isolates from sick people.
Typing of Salmonella isolates from people that reported having food containing eggs from recalled batches is ongoing, which is why the Public Health Agency of Sweden believes the number of people affected will go up.
Recall and public warning
No contaminated eggs from recalled lots should be left in shops or restaurants but it is possible people still have them in their homes.
Alerts have been made by Coop, Axfood, ICA, Lidl, and Kronägg involving different pack sizes of eggs. Some have a best-before date up to Jan. 28, 2023.
These firms said they were taking the incident seriously and were investigating, with the supplier, how contamination could have occurred. This included trying to make sure that something similar does not happen again.
In late December 2022, Salmonella Enteritidis was identified at CA Cedergren, a major Swedish producer in one of the egg-laying stables during a routine check.
After Salmonella was found at the farm in Småland, the Swedish Agency for Agriculture said that 165,000 laying hens must be killed.
The outbreak is being investigated by the Swedish Agency for Agriculture, the Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), the Public Health Agency of Sweden as well as regional and local authorities.
National control program data shows it is very unusual to find Salmonella in Swedish meat or eggs and most people who get sick are affected abroad or by imported food.
Swedish Salmonella control covers feed, animals, and food which means that positive findings are handled along the entire food chain. Authorities and industry try to prevent and combat Salmonella through statutory and voluntary control programs. There is mandatory monitoring of all commercial poultry flocks, where regular sampling takes place on the farm.
In the event of an outbreak where the Swedish Board of Agriculture is involved and decides on various measures, restrictions, and requirements, animal owners may be entitled to compensation.
About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with 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.
Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated eggs and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may 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 severe illnesses and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.
Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.
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