No cases yet linked to the latest Salmonella finding in Sweden

According to health officials, a second Salmonella alert at an egg farm in Sweden does not appear to have caused more people to become ill.

The Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) said that new findings of Salmonella were made at the same company’s site in mid-February. This triggered another wave of withdrawals in February and March.

In late December 2022, Salmonella Enteritidis was identified at CA Cedergren, a major producer, in one of the egg-laying barns during a routine environmental sampling check. The eggs were then recalled by Coop, Axfood, ICA, Lidl and Kronägg.

Investigations found that Salmonella from the production environment in December was identical to isolates from sick people.

There are no cases linked to the second withdrawal
In an update last week, Folkhälsomyndigheten said 79 people were sick in the outbreak, an increase of three cases since mid-February.

The latest date of disease onset among reported cases is early February. So far, there is no indication that anyone has been infected in connection with the February detection of Salmonella during enhanced sampling, health officials said.

Patients from 16 different regions are sick with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis.

The cases include 36 women and 43 men. They became ill between December 6, 2022 and February 4, 2023 and are between the ages of 1 and 91 with a median age of 35.

After Salmonella was found on the Småland farm in December, local media reported that the Swedish Agency for Agriculture said 165,000 laying hens had to be culled. The latest finding means that 160,000 hens will be slaughtered.

Data from the national control program shows that it is unusual to find Salmonella in Swedish meat or eggs and most people who get sick are usually infected abroad or from imported food.

The outbreak is being investigated by the Swedish Agency for Agriculture, the Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), the Swedish Public Health Agency, as well as regional and local authorities.

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste bad. Anyone can get sick with a Salmonella infection. Babies, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile.

Anyone who has eaten or handled any of the implicated eggs and has developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are needed to diagnose salmonellosis. The symptoms of Salmonella infection can resemble those of other diseases, often leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, the diarrhea can 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 serious illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people become infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they can still transmit the infections to others.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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