The number of people infected by Salmonella traced to a Polish egg farm has topped 350 with 10 countries now reporting confirmed and probable cases.
The victim count has increased substantially since October when the European Food Safety Authority reported 260 illnesses across seven countries between May 1 and Oct. 12 this year.
Wozniak Poultry Farms in Poland has been identified as the egg producer. Recalls were initiated across Europe and in Hong Kong and the outbreak has stirred questions about trade regulations.
A member of the European Parliament representing Croatia put his concerns in writing in November when he asked the European Commission if a member state can impose “stricter standards and checks than those provided for under the EU regulations,” specifically asking if individual countries can develop their own Salmonella control plans.
The Salmonella outbreak is believed to have caused the death of a child in Croatia and has likely been ongoing since 2012, according to a joint report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in October.
“The first isolates belonging to one of the (whole genome sequence) WGS clusters associated with this outbreak were identified in 2012. The number of confirmed and probable cases has increased steadily since May 2016,” according to the report.
Ebbs and surges in confirmed cases have led health and agriculture officials to think the outbreak was over more than once.
“The sampling time between the different food isolates belonging to the WGS clusters associated with this outbreak detected in the Netherlands and Norway demonstrates that products contaminated with the outbreak strain from the packing center in Poland have been distributed to different EU countries on multiple occasions in a period of at least seventeen months between May 2015 and October 2016,” the ECDC and EFSA reported.
“To date, only cases from countries performing typing of S. Enteritidis isolates have been identified. Since typing is performed in a minority of countries it is likely that more countries and substantially more cases are part of this outbreak. Based on information from the WGS investigation, it is also possible that this multi-country outbreak is associated with one or more common sources persisting in the EU/EEA since at least 2012.”
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