More than 20 people have fallen ill in Sweden with the source of their infections suspected to be eggs.

The Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak involves 22 people from 11 different regions. Patients are aged between 7 and 90 years old. A dozen of the patients are women and illnesses occurred between early December and the start of January.

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, which led to several recalls.

Some sick people ate meals containing eggs from the now-recalled batches, so there is a likely connection to the Salmonella finding at the egg producer, said the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten).

In recent days, a larger number of Salmonella infections have been reported than was expected. These isolates have not yet been typed to determine the strain. However, several ill people mentioned the consumption of products with eggs from suspected contaminated batches so there is a good chance the number of people in the outbreak will increase.

Dent to Sweden’s good Salmonella record
Because of the recalls, there should be no contaminated eggs left in stores or restaurants but it is possible that consumers still have them at home.

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.

When the prevalence of Salmonella in certain animals or food is very low and strict national control programs apply, the European Commission may grant special guarantees to an EU country. This includes extended monitoring showing the absence of Salmonella before sending shipments to those countries. Such guarantees are in place for Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway.

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. However, since the detection of Salmonella in Swedish eggs in December a number of recalls have been issued.

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 are 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.

Salmonella was found at the farm in Småland in late December and the Swedish Agency for Agriculture has decided that 165,000 laying hens must be killed.

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 eaten any recalled products and 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 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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