Muskegon, MI, public health officials announced Friday that they have identified 18 confirmed cases of Salmonella in an outbreak that emerged about three weeks ago, and that most of those cases come from a bacterium typically associated with eggs and chicken, Salmonella Enteritidis.

Because so many cases are from the same serotype, officials believe that the victims were exposed from a single source during the period of Oct. 30 to Nov. 2. State lab results are expected next week. Sometimes called “SE,” the Salmonella Enteritidis serotype is commonly linked to poultry and raw and lightly cooked eggs, although raw milk, pork, beef, sprouts, raw almonds and contact with reptiles have also been linked to the serotype. One victim from Fruitport Township reportedly said she was hospitalized for a week in Grand Rapids, MI, after eating a mixed green salad with grilled chicken at a local restaurant on Friday, Nov. 1. Most people infected with Salmonella bacteria will develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps about 12 hours to three days after infection and will recover within four to seven days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the risk of acquiring Salmonella becomes higher when dining out and escalates because of poor hand-washing practices, cross-contamination and other unsafe handling practices in homes and commercial outlets. Health officials recommend the following to avoid Salmonella infection:

  • Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly;
  • Do not consume products containing raw eggs or raw, unpasteurized milk;
  • Wash hands thoroughly after contact with pet feces, amphibians, reptiles or birds;
  • Always wash hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water immediately after contact with raw meat or poultry;
  • When dining out, don’t hesitate to send undercooked food back to the kitchen.