More than a dozen people fell ill in Sweden recently with Salmonella infections after eating undercooked burgers.

An outbreak with 15 cases of salmonellosis after a lunch at a hotel restaurant was investigated by the local food safety authority and the regional public health agency in Jämtland Härjedalen.

The Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak occurred among students and teachers from the Fjällgymnasiet high school during a ski competition in northern Sweden.

Based on information from 11 patients, the first date of illness onset was Jan. 28 and the last was Feb. 4. The age range was 17 to 57 years old with a median age of 19. Ten of those sick were male and one was female, all of them were from northern Sweden.

All sick people had a common meal where ground (minced) meat burgers were consumed. Some of those who ate the lunch reported that the burgers were clearly undercooked.

After finding Salmonella in samples of ground meat, further tracing of the implicated batch of frozen beef and pork meat was performed by local authorities, which revealed it came from Poland.

Salmonella was found in three of six meat samples but there is no ongoing risk of people getting sick as the implicated batch was only distributed to restaurants and has now been withdrawn.

About Salmonella
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, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning 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 a severe illness 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.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)